The passing of Bob Dole on December 5 has drawn an outpouring of accolades from many who mourn the loss of not only a long-serving senator and presidential candidate, but more so someone who encapsulated the American spirit. To be sure, Dole partook of partisan debates over policy differences, but his service—to the country, to veterans, to those with disabilities, to those fighting for civil rights and equal opportunity—stood out.
At the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, we worked closely with Dole on the National World War II Reunion on the National Mall for the dedication of the National World War II Memorial in May 2004. He narrated a documentary about that event and its broader meaning to the American people.
Richard Kurin is the interim director of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and served as the executive producer of the documentary.