WASHINGTON—Today, the United States Congress presented a congressional gold medal to former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas. Below are Speaker Ryan’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. It is a privilege to welcome you all to the grandest hall in Washington for an even grander occasion, as we award the highest civilian honor this body can bestow.
“I am honored to be joined today by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, as well as Senator Elizabeth Dole and Second Lady Karen Pence. I’d also like to welcome our congressional leaders and so many others who I recognize in the audience.
“Today, it is my honor to say that pursuant to S. 1616, we award the congressional gold medal to the soldier, the legislator, the statesman from Kansas—Senator Bob Dole.
“The congressional gold medal is one of our oldest traditions. Since its founding, our country has been ushered beyond the threshold of greatness by individuals of unrivaled courage. Bob Dole is one of those giants.
“For the man from Russell, it was always a question of what he could do for others. Be it on the front lines of World War II or within the halls of Congress, Bob Dole has always stood by what is just and what is right. He was a resounding voice for the hungry and those with disabilities, negotiating some of the biggest reforms our social programs have seen. He’s also proven himself to be one of the greatest allies America’s veterans will ever know. In 1989, he stood in this very place to dedicate this flag for our prisoners of war and those missing in action. He has never stopped fighting for those who fight for us.
“Bob Dole is as honorable as they come. It is this kind of American hero—the selfless, staunch defenders of those who can’t defend themselves—who don’t always get the recognition they deserve.
“So today, may this celebration mark not only all he has done for those in this room . . . not only all he has done for those watching at home . . . but all he has done—and the impact he has made—for those who don’t even realize it was he who made it.
“Senator Dole, because of you, America is better. On behalf of Congress and all Americans, thank you.”