Ninety-five-year-old former senator Bob Dole was one of many Americans who came out to pay tribute to former president George H.W. Bush who passed away at 94-years-old on Friday. Hundreds attended the late president’s memorial service at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday to pay their respects to a man who devoted his life to serving his country. Dole had a special relationship with Bush, having served alongside him during World War II. The pair would later compete against Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination in the 1980 presidential election. Although Dole lost that particular election, his service for his country was far from over. He was awarded two Purple Hearts for his service in the military and worked in the Senate for many years, according to Today.
Dole now needs the assistance of a wheelchair to get around, but he wasn’t going to let that keep him from paying his proper respects to Bush. Although he was not able to stand on his own, he was helped into an upright position so that he could offer one last salute when he reached the former president’s casket. Visibly upset, Dole took several minutes to look upon the casket and say his farewells to his old friend. In a quiet nod to Bush, the senator also donned festive snowman socks to the memorial service. George H.W. Bush was known for his unique sock choices and many chose to honor him Tuesday by sporting their own colorful socks.
Former Sen. Bob Dole, a longtime political rival of the 41st president and fellow World War II veteran, stood from his wheelchair to salute former Pres. George H.W. Bush, who is lying in state in the U.S. Capitol rotunda. https://t.co/1X5FlzlgL6 pic.twitter.com/bFq30SqX9J— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) December 4, 2018
Many were touched by the emotional gesture that took all of Dole’s physical strength. Jeb Bush thanked the senator for his kindness by sharing the moment on Twitter saying, “Just incredible. Thank you Senator Dole.” Journalist Willie Geist was also moved upon witnessing the gesture and spoke about the true miracle it was that Dole was even able to be present at the ceremony despite all he had been through in service to his country.”By all rights, 21-year-old Bob Dole should have been dead after being shot by Germans in WW2, and 20-year-old George Bush after being shot out of the sky by the Japanese. Today, the 95-year-old Senator Dole salutes and says goodbye to the 94-year-old President Bush,” he wrote on Twitter.
Former president George Bush walked arm in arm with former first lady Laura Bush to say goodbye to his father. They paused at the casket before walking down the line of friends and family, sharing embraces and shaking hands.