Former Senator Bob Dole gets funeral with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery

Gen. Mark Milley (right), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presents the U.S. flag to former Sen. Elizabeth Dole following the funeral service for her husband, Sen. Robert Dole, in Section 4 of Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., Feb. 2

Former U.S. Senator Bob Dole was laid to rest this week at Arlington National Cemetery, where he received military honors for his service.

Roughly 100 close family members and former colleagues attended Wednesday’s funeral service. A foundation named for his widow, former Cabinet secretary and North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole, had announced plans for a private service at the historic cemetery. 

Dole died on Dec. 5 at the age of 98. 

Dole was the 1996 Republican presidential nominee, losing that year to incumbent Democrat Bill Clinton. He served nearly 36 years in Congress and was the GOP's leader in the Senate for more than a decade.

The Kansas native volunteered for the U.S. Army’s Enlisted Reserve Corps to fight in World War II in 1942 and was later commissioned as a second lieutenant with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, according to the Department of Defense. 

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Soldiers conduct military funeral honors with funeral escort for Sen. Robert Dole in Section 4 of Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., Feb. 2, 2022.  (U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser / Arlington National Cemetery / released)

Dole was seriously wounded while fighting as a 21-year-old Army platoon leader in northern Italy in 1945. He was hit by a shell fragment that shattered his collarbone and part of his spine, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.

He spent three years recovering in a hospital and never regained the use of his right hand. He went on to become a lawyer and began his political career in the early 1950s with a term in the Kansas House.

Dole has been celebrated for his military service, advocating for veterans and leading the push to get the World War II Memorial built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. 

The Associated Press contributed to this story 

This story was reported from Washington, D.C.