tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC December 10, 2021 9:00am-10:00am PST
his dedication to public service, his determination to keep washington and congress places of civility. and his kindness to linda and me made our friendship a blessing as rich as life offers. when i arrived on the senate, in 1987, bob was literally one of the very first people who reach out. we served on the finance and agriculture committees together. and almost from the beginning, we seemed to have similar views on agriculture, nutrition, many
other issues. bob faced the world, both its cruelties and its kindness, with humility, with humanity and of course, with humor. i remember my very first appearance with bob after we were both elected leaders in 1994. it was at a reception, where he noted that my election was received with great enthusiasm in farm country because for the first time you have two senate leaders from farm states. he said every farmer in america, that very week, ordered a new tractor.
and bob set the bar for me and i suspect many others, when he would share that story about when he first came to congress. a reporter asked, what his agenda was going to be. i'm going to sit and watch for a couple of days. and then, i'll stand up and do what's right. and that's exactly what he did. as the president noted, he stood up for minorities early in his career when he broke party ranks and voted for the landmark civil rights and voting rights act.
he stood up for the elderly when he worked with pat moynihan literally to save social security. he stood up for the young when he worked with my fellow south dakotan george mcgovern on nutritional assistance. and he stood up for the disabled, when he worked with ted kennedy and tom harkin, on the americans with disabilities act. and, boy, did he stand up for his fellow veterans, as pat just noted. as the chairman of the world war ii memorial campaign. i know how important that accomplishment was. he remarked to me once he thought about being buried there. that may not be his final
resting place, i think of bob every time i visit. of course, these are all the things that made bob dole great. as bill rogers once put it and one of bob's favorite sayings, it's great to be great, but it's far greater to be human. almost everyone has heard the bob dole stories of amazing heroics. and his recovery from injury in world war ii. if you know the bob dole who called a florida dentist in
1993, to encourage him after losing his right arm and help him find a specialist to get a prosthetic arm. and few know the story about bob dole and the detour he took in his presidential campaign in 1996. he was in indianapolis an he left the campaign for a few hours, to attend a graduation party for a young girl who had become paralyzed because of a car accident. or as pat already noted, the bob dole who wait at the airport gates for honor flights to greet veterans with a salute and a thank you.
he touched all people through small acts of kindness, including me. he taught me a lot when i became senate leader. but the teaching didn't end when i left the senate. when i lost my election in 2004, once again, bob was one of the very first to offer me his guidance and his support. he helped me find a speaker's bureau. he encouraged me to join him at his law firm. that's a decision i never regretted, in part because it gave me the opportunity to spend a lot more time with him.
i can't help but think of the first time i said farewell to bob. when he left the senate in 1996, i remember he quoted a poem by karl sandberg, in his final speech on the senate floor. i tell you, the past, a bucket of ashes. i tell you yesterday, is a wind going down. a sun dropped in the west. i tell you there is nothing in the world, only an ocean of tomorrows. a sky of tomorrows.
bob didn't always have an easy life. he faced some hard yesterdays, physical, political, personal losses. but for all he did lose, he never lost himself. he never lost his sense of humor. he never lost his sense of integrity. he never lost his love for his hometown, russell, kansas, or his deep, deep love for elizabeth and robin. and he never lost his hope for tomorrow. his life was a testament to will rogers' truth, that the things that make us human, the laughs
>> i stand here with a heavy heart and also as a grateful and proud daughter. i have had an incredible 67 years with my dad. not many people get that time. and i'm so thankful. i will be brief today, to help me make it through this and to make dad smile, because a lot of us in this room know how much he appreciated brevity. i want to start by thanking all of you for being with us today. i think i can speak for elizabeth when i say the outpouring of love and respect
is so heartwarming. we are truly lifted by your presence. and thank you, mr. president, for your warm remarks. i will always treasure your recent visit to dad and elizabeth and i at the watergate. it was wonderful and i love listening to you share all your stories about the time you served together. and i want to say thank you to his extended family and now mine, former colleagues, former staff, current staff, members of his household, elizabeth's staff, who i've gotten to know really well this last couple days, the brunch crew, all of
his visitors and friends and family, who called him regularly. he so enjoyed his time with all of you. and i want to say thank you to his medical team. and believe me, it was quite a team. his team on the east coast and the west coast, for your dedication and for giving us so many wonderful years with dad, especially this last year. we can't thank you enough. finally, i want to thank his care givers. i will be eternally grateful to you for providing extraordinary care and compassionate care to my dad. and for always answering my many calls and texts with grace.
there were a lot, believe me. the last years have been such a gift to me. i feel so fortunate i was able to spend hundreds of hours with my dad and talk to him almost every, single night on the phone. we talked about everything under the sun. he told me things i never knew. he asked about my life, about my friends' lives. we made lots of calls to family. to former colleagues in the house and former staff. he shared feelings he had not shared before with many of these people. it was a wonderful experience for me to listen to these conversations and such a gift to them and to dad. my dad is the most generous
person i have ever known. he was a giver, not a taker. he cared more about others than he did about himself. he told me, he set a personal goal to help one person every day of his life. then, he said, i am not sure i've been able to meet my goal. i said, dad, you've got to be kidding. some days you help one person and other days you help 40,000 people. i think you've met and exceeded your goal. well, you may be right, he said. there is no one he helped more than me. he's always been there for me,
through thick and then. he believes in giving second chances. and i know that firsthand. he was my rock. my dad was an animal lover and we share that love. you've heard a lot about his work in animal welfare. but i would like to share a few personal stories about his love for animals. when i was a little girl, my cousins and i would visit his parents in russell, every summer. grandma would often have animals for us to play with. one year i got home and i cried and cried because i didn't know what would happen to the little kitten i played with and grew to love. dad left on a trip to kansas. and much to my surprise, he brought the kitten home with him
on the plane for me. we named the kitten rusty because he started in russell. recently, i lost my dog, cooper. dad was the first one to call me. he consoled me and he said all the right things. that support meant the world to me. soon, he began to encourage me to get another dog. quite frequently he encouraged me to get another dog. and i tell him, i just don't know if i'm ready. but he kept encouraging me. and eventually, he got me a puppy. and i wanted to name my puppy after dad. but i didn't want to name him bob. so, i decided to name him jojo,
after his middle name, joseph. and we visited many, many times. dad always wanted me to bring jojo with me, which wasn't always easy. but we did it. and dad always wanted me, when i got there, to hold jojo up, so he could get kisses from jojo. i would hold him up to his face. and dad always wanted elizabeth to get kisses, too. and jojo did a very good job spreading his love. dad and elizabeth's dogs, blazer and leader, were always trotting into his room. they loved to visit. but it was blazer who was the most concerned about him. blazer would lay at his feet whenever he suspected dad needed special nursing care.
and i believe it really helped him because he loved them so much. when i was preparing to speak today, i learned about a farewell letter. dad wrote with a former staff member. none of us knew he had written this letter. he swore him to secrecy and he kept a secret. the joke is, you may move on to other jobs, but once you're a dole staffer, you're always a dole staffer. and a lot of people in this room know that. i'd like to share, in closing, part of that letter. and i encourage you all to read it in its entirety. it has been released to the public, as he wished. here are his words --
as i make the final walk of my life's journey, i do so without fear because i know that i will again not be walking alone. i know that god will be walking with me. i always confess that i'm a bit curious to learn if i am correct in thinking that heaven will look a lot like kansas. and to see, like others who have gone before me, if i will still be able to vote in chicago. [ laughter ] i have one request for all of you -- since it was dedicated in
2004, it has been my honor to go as often as i could to the world war ii memorial here in washington, d.c., to welcome and thank the world war ii veterans and all veterans who are visiting there. since i won't be making that visit anymore, i hope that you will and that you will ask your children and grandchildren to visit veterans memorials across america and to never forget the sacrifice made, not just by my generation, but by all those that wear the uniform of our country. my final words are the exact ones that dwight eisenhower used to conclude his speech in abilene nearly seven decades ago. i believe in the future of the united states of america. i will miss him so much.
heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. the second is this -- you shall love your neighbor as yourself. there is no other commandment greater than these. love is patient. love is kind. it does not envy. it does not boast. it is not proud. it is not rude. it is not self seeking. it is not easily angered. it keeps no record of wrongs. love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. he who does not love does not know god, for god is love. the word of the lord. >> thanks be to god.
>> mr. president, madame vice president, distinguished guests and dole staff, having served with senator dole for several years, i am honored to read a poem by linda ellis that senator dole included in speeches in later years. i think we will hear in the words a description of the man whose life, leadership and legacy we celebrate today. i read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. he referred to the dates on the tombstone, from the beginning to the end. he noted first came the date of the birth and spoke the following date with tears. but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between the
years. for that dash represents all the time that they spent life on earth. and now, only those who loved them know what that little line is worth. for it matters not how much we own, the cars, the house, the cash. what matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash. so, think about this long and hard. are there things you'd like to change? for you never know how much time is left, that still can be rearranged. if we could just slow down enough to consider what is true and real and always try to understand the way other people feel. be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we've never loved before. if we treat each other with
senate and one of the high points, though i came after the honorable robert dole had left, was to meet elizabeth. elizabeth is one of the most ethically congruent people i know. to know you is to love you. i know the many phone calls and how i have been blessed by our friendship. your spirituality dwarfs my own. but it rubbed off on bob. i used to have furtive
rendezvouses with bob in this very cathedral. so many memorial services, he was here. sometimes pushed in a wheelchair. but i would, at the end of the service, bolt around the side of the cathedral for our rendezvous at the fore. we really got to know one another well, particularly when we were -- i was able to work with him on the world war ii memorial. and learned so much from this great patriot. as i listened to the readings, i thought about him. what an appropriate reading for the old testament, isaiah 40:31.
they that wait on the lord shall renew their strength. they shall mount up with wings as eagles. run and not be weary. walk and not faint. i used to wonder, did we get that right? it seems it should be run and not faint. walk and not be weary. but the pedestrian and prosaic movements of life can push you to the point of fainting far more than those emergency moments with the adrenaline
rush. and then, what a beautiful passage for the new testament. love. agape. creative, redemptive, goodwill for humanity, describes the life and legacy of robert dole. i'm still working on calling him bob. i still can't do that. i remember, elizabeth, when we had the conversation and you put bob -- you said, let me put bob on the phone. and i had a beatific experience of having a conference call with
comfort me. i believe my beloved brother in christ knew he was cared for by a great shepherd. a shepherd who said, in john 10:11, i am the good shepherd. the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. bob was a covert spiritual agent. he did not wear his religion on his sleeves. he resonated with the sentiment of francis of assisi, preach the gospel everywhere you go, when necessary, use words.
he believed the sentiment of edgar gest, i would rather see your sermon than hear it any day. i would rather it should walk with me than merely tell the way. this covert spiritual agent believed that he was cared for by a great shepherd who left the chance of cherubims and seraphim and a rainbow encircled throne, in a land where night never comes to make a breakthrough at bethlehem, to see about bob, to see about you, to see about me. and he could say, even though i
walk through the valley of the shadow of death, i will fear no evil, for you are with me. he knew, i firmly believe, elizabeth -- he knew that there was brevity, as robin put it, in that valley. i'm not going to be walking around in that valley. i'm not going to be having a picnic in that valley. ye, though, i walk. remember, they will walk and not faint. ye, though, i walk through. it's temporary. he knew that he was not in that valley to stay. 2 corinthians 5:1, if this
earthly tent that we live in is destroyed, praise god, we have a building not made with hands. eternal in the heavens. he knew that. he knew there was light in the valley of shadows. you cannot have shadows without light to project the shadow. and he could say with the salter in the 27th psalm, the lord is my light and my salvation, whom then shall i fear? he served a savior who said i am the light of the world. there was one other thing he
knew. he knew -- he knew that there was comfort in that valley. and we've talked about this day coming. he knew there was comfort for us. that shepherd he loved so much and we love so much, once said, matthew 11:27 and onward, come on to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and i will give you rest. take my yolk upon you and learn of me, for i am meek and lowly in heart. and you will find rest, for your
souls, for my yoke is easy. my burden is light. i remember when you told me he died in his sleep. and i said, what a transition. and those words of william cullen bryant immediately leap to my mind for he was telling us how we should aspire to transition. he wrote, so live, that when your summon comes to join that innumerable caravan, where each must take his chamber in the
i am life. lord, you consoled martha and mary in their distress, draw near to us who mourn for bob and dry the tears of those who weep. >> hear us, lord. >> you wept at the grave of lazereth your friend, comfort us in our sorrow. >> hear us, lord. >> you raise the dead to life, give to our brother eternal life. >> hear us, lord. >> you promised paradise to the thief who repented. bring our brother to the joys of heaven. >> hear us, lord. >> our brother was washed in baptism and anointed with the holy spirit. give him fellowship with all your saints. >> hear us, lord. >> comfort us in our sorrows at the death of our brother that our faith be our consolation and
eternal life, our hope. father of all, we pray to you for bob and for all those whom we love but see no longer. grant to them eternal rest. let light perpetual shine upon them. may his soul and the souls of all the departed through the mercy of god rest in peace. ♪♪ shall we gather at the river ♪ ♪ where bright angels feet are
>> give rest of christ to your servant with your saints. >> when sorrow and pain are no more. >> you only are immortal, the creator and maker of mankind than we are mortal formed of the earth and to earth shall we return. for so did you ordain when you created me saying you are dust, and to dust you shall return. all of us go down to the dust, yet even at the grave, we make our song. all alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. >> give rest our christ with
your saints. where sorrow and pain are no more. at a sign of life ever lasting. >> into your hands, oh merciful savior, we commend your servant, bob. acknowledge we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold. a lamb of your own flock. a sinner of your own redeeming. receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. >> amen. >> now go forth into the world in peace. be strong and of good courage. hold fast to that which is good. render to no one evil for evil. but love the lord your god, love