It was just over three years ago that Bob Dole rose from his wheelchair, with assistance, to pay an emotional tribute to former President George H.W. Bush as he lay in state at the U.S. Capitol. Now, the former Senate majority leader and Republican presidential nominee will receive the same honor.

Dole, who died on Sunday at the age of 98, will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, congressional leaders announced Monday. An arrival and departure ceremony will take place on Thursday, Dec. 9, and will be open to invited guests only due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Whatever their politics, anyone who saw Bob Dole in action had to admire his character and his profound patriotism,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. “Those of us who were lucky to know Bob well ourselves admired him even more. A bright light of patriotic good cheer burned all the way from Bob’s teenage combat heroics through his whole career in Washington and through the years since.”


Dole, who was in the Army during World War II, spent three years at a hospital recovering from war injuries that left him permanently without use of his right hand. He was a longtime advocate for people with disabilities.

“Senator Dole exemplified the greatest generation, and while I never had the pleasure of serving in the Senate with him, his reputation and his achievements, and most of all his character, preceded him,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “I always admired his steadfast advocacy for veterans and for Americans with disabilities and his love for his country.”

The tradition of having deceased individuals lie for public viewing and tribute in the U.S. Capitol dates back to 1852. Those who “lie in state” are traditionally officials such as members of Congress, presidents, and judges, while individuals who have “lain in honor” include four Capitol Police officers, Rev. Billy Graham, and civil rights activist Rosa Parks.

“Senator Dole was an extraordinary patriot, who devoted his entire life to serving our nation with dignity and integrity,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “From the Well of the House to the Floor of the Senate, as a presidential candidate and as an elder statesman, he was one of the foremost advocates for our Servicemembers, veterans and military families. May it be a comfort to his loving wife, his dear daughter and all his loved ones that a grateful nation joins them in mourning during this sad time.”


Dole will be the first, and perhaps only, official to lie in state in the Capitol in 2021. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the last individual to lie in state in September 2020.

Capitol Police officers Brian Sicknick, who died after the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol, and William Evans, who died after a knife-wielding man rammed his car into a police gate on Good Friday, had each lain in honor at the Capitol Rotunda earlier this year.