Bob Dole’s Last Hurrah

Each Saturday, before Bob Dole sets off on his latest vocation, he has cornflakes, a little sugar on top, and a bottle of chocolate Boost.

It takes less time to get dressed now that the 94-year-old finally allows a nurse to help him, but it remains a rough half-hour on a body racked by injury and age. The blue oxford has to be maneuvered over the dead right arm and the shoulder that was blown away on an Italian hillside. The pressed khakis over the scarred thigh. A pair of North Face running shoes, the likes of which his artillery-blasted hands have been unable to tie since 1945.

Then comes the hard part – getting there. On this particular June Saturday, the Lincoln Town Car with the Kansas plates is unavailable, so Nathanial Lohn, the former Army medic who serves as Dole’s nurse, helps the nonagenarian into Lohn’s Honda Insight. It’s tight, but good enough for the 20-minute drive to a monument the former senator all but built himself.

There, from a handicapped parking spot, he eases into the wheelchair as the greetings begin – “Oh my gosh, Bob Dole!”– finally rolling into his place in the shade just outside the main entrance to the National World War II Memorial.