Former Republican Presidential nominee, Senator, and Vice-Presidential candidate Bob Dole has been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. The 97-year-old has served his country his entire life; he is a World War Two veteran who was badly wounded in the war, and has since held various political offices, though is perhaps best known for running for President in 1996. Even in his 90s, Dole has continued to play an active role in American politics. The former Senator issued a statement earlier today which read:
“Recently, I was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. My first treatment will begin on Monday. While I certainly have some hurdles ahead, I also know that I join millions of Americans who face significant health challenges of their own.”
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In the Second World War, Dole was injured when he charged a German position in 1945. A fragment of a shell hit him in the back and crushed two of his vertebrae, paralysing his arms and legs. Despite spending three years recovering, Dole never regained the full use of his right hand.
After the war, Dole got involved in politics. He served in the Kansas House of Representatives for two years, and as the County Attorney of Russell County, Kansas, for eight years, before becoming a member of the US House of Representatives from Kansas. He represented the 6th district for two years and the 1st district for six years.
He then became a Senator, a role in which he served for over 27 years from 1969 to 1996, being both Senate Majority Leader (twice) and Senate Minority Leader. He then resigned in 1996 to focus on his upcoming election campaign against Bill Clinton. Dole had previously been the Republican party’s nominee for Vice President in the 1976 election, so he had experience on the campaign trail, though that didn’t stop him losing to Clinton by 220 electoral college votes.
Since his failed bid for the presidency, Dole has remained active in politics, though he hasn’t held elected office again. In 1997, Dole was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Bill Clinton. He served alongside Clinton as co-chairman of a fund which provided scholarships to the victims of 9/11 families, and was instrumental in the creation of The World War II Memorial on the National Mall. He gave a speech at the memorial in its 2004 dedication, in front of tens of thousands of other veterans in their 80s and 90s, which he called ‘our final reunion’.
Dole was the only former GOP Presidential nominee to endorse Donald Trump before the 2016 election, and was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal by Trump in 2018. At the funeral of Former President George H W bush, he stood up from his wheelchair with the help of an aide and gave an emotional salute to Bush, his old political rival. In 2019, Congress approved his promotion to a colonel, and he received Two Purple Hearts and Two Bronze Stars.
Bob Dole has been a true man of the people; even in his statement announcing his recent cancer diagnosis, he still thought about the ‘millions of Americans who face significant health challenges of their own.’ He begins treatment on Monday.