Former senator Bob Dole, 95, rises from his wheelchair for one final emotional salute to George HW Bush
Dole, who was once Bush senior's political rival, described the war hero as a 'cherished servant leader' who 'answered the call to serve whenever the nation needed him'
Former Senator Bob Dole (R-Kansas) was lifted out of his wheelchair on Tuesday so that he could give a final salute to his longtime friend, fellow World War II veteran and former president George HW Bush. Dole, who was once Bush senior's political rival, paid tribute to the 41st president on Monday and described the war hero as a "cherished servant leader" who "answered the call to serve whenever the nation needed him."
Bush senior's spokesperson, Jim McGrath, described the salute as "a last, powerful gesture of respect from one member of the Greatest Generation, Senator Dole, to another."
Jeb Bush took a moment out to acknowledge the veteran's gesture and put out a tweet thanking the Kansas Republican, calling his salute: "Just incredible."
The 95-year-old former senator, who was gravely wounded during the 1945 battle in Italy, while talking to CNN, said that under Bush senior's presidency, "three-fourths of Congress were veterans and we would stick together and work across the aisle." "And President Bush was a bipartisan president. So we got quite a lot done,” Dole added.
The 41st President of the United States died on November 30, Friday, at the age of 94 and his body is set to lie in state in Washington, DC from Monday before his funeral on Thursday.
According to an interview with James A. Baker III, Bush’s friend and former chief of staff and secretary of state, Bush senior was surrounded by his family members and a few friends, shortly before his death at his Houston home. His son, George W Bush, however, wasn't with him at the time and was put on speaker phone to share one last moment with his father, the New York Times reported.
Bush junior reportedly told his father what a "wonderful" dad he had been and he loved him dearly, to which the late former president told his son — in what would be his final words — "I love you, too."
“I can’t even hardly talk about it without welling up. It was as gentle a passing as I think you could ever expect anyone to have. And he was ready," Baker told The Times.