Sen. Dole’s presence felt by Kentuckians both in the commonwealth and in our nation’s capital

Published: Dec. 5, 2021 at 10:55 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Senator Bob Dole’s decades of service to this country began, in part, right here in Kentucky.

Dole wrote in a letter that he was headed to what he heard was a “pretty nice camp” on April 10, 1944…he was referring to Camp Breckinridge in Union County. Dole later spoke with WKYT’s Bill Bryant about his time at the camp.

“That’s where I was when I was asked, selected to go to officer candidate school in Fort Benning, Georgia,” said Sen. Dole.

The Republican would return in the 1980s and 1990s in his efforts to earn the favor of the American people in various presidential campaigns, sharing some laughs in Lexington and some of his values with a crowd in Covington.

“I can tell you the undecideds are coming our way,” Sen. Dole said in the Covington rally during his 1996 presidential campaign. “The people are saying leadership, character, trust!”

But for some veterans living in the commonwealth, the most valuable thing he shared was a hello.

“Nine times out of 10, a veteran would ask before we even departed Lexington, will Senator Dole be there?” said Phill Pittman, president and founding member of Honor Flight Kentucky.

The organization has sent nearly 1,000 veterans to D.C. to see their memorials since 2016, and often, Senator Dole was there to greet them.

“If he saw somebody try to step out of line to go around, he called them back,” Pittman said. “‘Where are you going, don’t you want to say hi?’”

Pittman called his presence at the memorials an inspiration and added that today was a sad day for America.

“For every single person that had that opportunity, they’ll remember that for the rest of their life,” said Pittman.

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