|Thursday, Apr 14, 2011|
Under heavy rains that shortly turned into sunshine, the National Mall and Memorial Parks was the setting where Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar honored former Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Dole for his longtime support for veterans and his instrumental role in establishing the World War II Memorial.
Deputy Director for Operations Peggy O’Dell joined NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw in welcoming a bipartisan group of guests to the ceremony, including Vice President Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, Secretary Salazar, Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and a host of Dole’s friends and family in order to dedicate a plaque in his honor near the memorial. The plaque was installed next to the visitor contact station in a location where virtually all visitors to the World War II Memorial can see it.
“Bob Dole’s valor on the battlefield in the mountains of Italy was no different than the moral courage in his public life,” said Vice President Biden. “I learned from Bob Dole, going all the way back to 1972, that, although we have multiple obligations as a nation, we have only one truly sacred obligation. That is to prepare and equip those we send into battle with everything they need and to care for these warriors and their families when they return.”
“Bob Dole has given much to our country, both on the battlefield and in public office, where his work on behalf of our nation’s veterans is unparalleled,” Secretary Salazar said. “Today, we dedicate a plaque in his honor at the very memorial that he was so instrumental in creating. From now on, visitors to this hallowed site will be reminded of the contributions of a truly great American.”
"I'm truly honored to receive this recognition,” said Senator Dole. “But in reality today I represent all veterans, particularly my generation of World War II veterans who preserved liberty and freedom for us and for millions of others around the world.”
Joining the Vice President, Secretary Salazar and Deputy Director O’Dell at the ceremony were U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, former Senator Elizabeth Dole and former HHS Secretary Donna Shalala.