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GI Bill Famous: Bob Dole

August 16, 2012

Many remember Bob Dole for his presidential runs, one as Vice President for Gerald Ford in 1976 and one as Republican nominee for president in 1996. Although he lost to Bill Clinton, as an attorney and Senate Majority Leader, he had led an important role in some of the major events through America's history and also has continued to serve his country in various ways.

Born in Kansas in 1923, Dole enrolled in the University of Kansas in 1941, but he joined the United States' Army in 1942 during World War II. He became a second lieutenant in the Army's 10th Mountain division. He was stationed in combat in the Apennine mountains southwest of Bologna, Italy. He took fire from a German machine gun to his upper right back and right arm, badly injuring him. His injuries were so critical that it took him until 1948 to recover. However, his right arm was paralyzed. For his war heroism, he received two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star with combat "V" for an attempt to help a downed man.

Dole would use his GI Bill to attend University of Arizona from 1948 to 1951, earning his law degree from Washburn University School of Law in 1952. His education allowed him to pursue office, which he started to run for in 1950, when he was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives. He also practiced law in his hometown of Russell. His political life led him to further growth, moving on to become a Senator for Kansas, an office which he held until 1995. During his time, he would have a moderate voting candidate and could also work between moderate and conservative members of the Republican Party. He would receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Clinton in 1997.

Dole joined the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, succeeding in lowering the eligibility requirements for federal food stamps, a liberal goal that he supported due to strong backing from Kansas farmers. In addition, he also was a support of federal aid for handicapped. He was a leader in the fight against crime, which kept him in firm standing with right wing conservatives for the duration of his career. He would eventually retire and go on to be a better advocate for health and hunger reform in America.

Bob Dole is one of the remaining World War II heroes, and his contributions to his country could not have been achieved without a firm education in law and politics. His farm background and Kansas roots also served him well, leading to a decorated career and plenty of reform to carry on his legacy for many years.

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