When former Senator Bob Dole died at age 98, early Sunday morning, Dec. 5, his legacy of collaboration, wry government humor, and nonpartisanship stretched across the aisle — and across the entire country. In his honor, President Joe Biden has ordered all U.S. government flags to be lowered to half-staff through Dec. 9.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis has followed suit, ordering flags to be immediately lowered to half-staff on all Colorado public buildings from sunrise until sunset until December 9, 2021, to honor the life and legacy of Senator Bob Dole as proclaimed by President Biden.
The full text of the President’s proclamation reads:
As a mark of respect for Robert Joseph Dole, a statesman like few in our history and a war hero among the greatest of the Greatest Generation, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset on December 9, 2021. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
Dole was a World War II veteran who was critically injured just two weeks before the end of the war. It took him years to recover, whereupon he went to law school, ran for office in his native Russell, Kansas, then went on to serve 30 years in the U.S. Senate and had his eye on the U.S. presidency. He won the Republican nomination for president but lost out to his rival George H.W.Bush, who later became a close friend.
Known for his ability to work collaboratively, he was considered a straight shooter. In his later years, he deplored the growing political conflict, extremism, and unwillingness to work together, saying “Compromise is the oxygen of democracy.”
Upon winning his first Senate term, Dole was asked what he was going to do immediately to make his mark in the Senate. He said, “I’m going to sit and watch for a few days, then I’m going to do what is right.” it appears he followed that decision through his years in the U.S. Senate.
Governor Polis shared a statement following reports of Senator Dole’s passing: “Thank you Bob Dole for your public service and inspiring personal experience recovering from almost fatal wounds in WWII and never letting disability hold you back,” said Governor Polis. “My condolences to Elizabeth Dole and the friends and family of Senator Dole. May his legacy live on and continue to inspire the next generation of public servants.”