This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, May 28, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Tonight, a special edition of On the Record. We're live from the new, and long overdue, World War II Memorial in our nation's capital. Tomorrow the granite and bronze statue on the National Mall will be dedicated to the 400,000 who died and the 16 million who fought and served in the war.
Our next guest is a World War II veteran who was seriously wounded on the battlefield and was twice decorated with the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. Senator Bob DOLE also serves as the national chairman of the memorial fund-raising campaign.
BOB DOLE (R-KS), FORMER U.S. SENATOR, WORLD WAR II VETERAN: Greta, good to see you again.
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, what took us so long?
DOLE: Well, I think we all came home, went to work, went to school. We had the GI Bill. And we didn't think about it. And suddenly -- or not suddenly, 40 years later, some guy at a picnic tells Congressman Marcie Captor (ph), You know, why don't we have a World War II memorial? He said, I'll go back and look. And so after 13 years, here it is.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I'm almost embarrassed, though, that my generation, who didn't serve in World War II -- we should have thought of it for you.
DOLE: Yes, well, I don't know. I mean, it's -- I think the thing that is -- not everybody's going to be able to be here, but -- and it's really not for us because 75 percent have passed away, 12 million out of 16 million. But it's -- we hope it's going to -- when people leave there, they're going to say to themselves that, you know, Some time in my life, I may have to make a sacrifice for my country. And that's really what it's all about. And there are a lot of happy old-timers in town this weekend.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you walked around and talked to them?
DOLE: Oh, yes. I've been around a lot. And you know, they're a little teary and they got their daughter with them. There's this very strong daughter-father-granddaughter-grandfather relationship, much stronger, it seems, than in the men, but -- and I've just come from a reception for all the donors, and all the Medal of Honor winners were there, and just a great group of people. And we were all -- you know, we were all together in World War II. We weren't split down the middle, as we are maybe today, but -- and we made sacrifices. I mean, you know, you couldn't buy nylon stockings. You couldn't buy meat. You couldn't by gasoline. You'd had to have ration cars. Now none of us sacrifice except for the families and the poor guys and gals that are in Iraq or Afghanistan or the DMZ, wherever it is.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, you're the national chairman, co-chairman, right?
DOLE: I'm the chairman, yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: Chairman. OK. Chairman.
DOLE: Whatever. Yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: Whatever. All right...
DOLE: The pay is the same.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, the pay's the same. Zero. Indeed!
VAN SUSTEREN: Tell me the history of this memorial. Who came up with the idea? And what's it taken to get this to where we now finally have it?
DOLE: Well, the bill was sponsored by Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, and it passed, you know, easily. Nobody objected to authorizing it, but where do you get the money? And when I was asked to be chairman the day that President Clinton gave me the Medal of Freedom, and a lot of Legionnaires and VFW and Disabled Americans were there -- Veterans -- and they said, There's a little mockup of a memorial we want to show you, and they talked me into being the chairman. So I went to Fred Smith, the Fedex CEO, and said, Fred, I've got to have somebody help me open corporate doors. And he was great. And we've had 600,000 contributions.
VAN SUSTEREN: The monument, I think, is gorgeous, and I think it adds to the Mall. But I mean, it's been -- there's been a debate as to...
DOLE: Oh, yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: ... you know, the -- even a contest as to who should design it.
DOLE: A few years in court.
VAN SUSTEREN: About? Go ahead and tell...
DOLE: About the site. And I didn't pick the site. I didn't pick the design. I just picked pockets.
DOLE: You know, I went around and raised the money. But it doesn't interfere with the view. If you -- if you look to the Washington Monument or the Lincoln Memorial, it almost enhances the view, in my opinion.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I actually thought that, too. And you -- the thing I like about it is that you go down there, and you can actually walk around, talk to people. It's much more of a social monument than simply one you look at.
DOLE: And they're going to have concerts there. It's not just going to be a -- just a -- you know, brick and mortar, people want to drive by. There'll be all kinds of activity there and it's going to be kept alive. We have enough money -- and the thing about this monument, we didn't get the money from this government. I remember Senator Bob Kerrey saying, You know, Bob Dole shouldn't be going around with a tin cup raising this money. Why don't we appropriate it? They gave us about $15 million and we've raised $194 million.
VAN SUSTEREN: It's interesting. There are different pillars with different states on it.
VAN SUSTEREN: And if you go down tonight, you see pictures of people, people who put pictures of...
DOLE: Oh, they did?
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: Flowers are up on the different states. You see the families gathering around and taking pictures.
DOLE: Well, there are a lot of -- you know, there are a lot of widows and orphans. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) there are thousands of orphans whose fathers went overseas, was killed in action. They never saw their father. And this is how they're paying their respects.
VAN SUSTEREN: I saw a man with a hat on that said 10th Mountain Division. I said, Hey, I know -- I know Senator Dole!
VAN SUSTEREN: He was in the 10th Mountain Division.
DOLE: Well, I was a replacement. They were killing second lieutenants pretty quickly over there and -- these fellows are all skiers. They came, you know, from the -- great American skiers and world-class skiers were in the 10th Mountain Division. I came from Kansas. This is about as flat as it gets, about like this table, about as high as it gets. But I never learned to ski, but I was a -- second lieutenants were pretty easy to come by.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, this monument is for everybody, and also for the -- you know, for the pleasure of us who didn't serve, our parents. But you -- you're a war hero. Tell...
DOLE: If I'm a hero, it's my recovery, it's not what I did.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, tell -- I mean, you saved -- you went to save someone.
DOLE: I tried to save my radio man, Ed Simms (ph), but...
VAN SUSTEREN: That's a hero, isn't it?
DOLE: Well, the poor guy didn't live.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you tried.
DOLE: I tried.
VAN SUSTEREN: You went out and got him. You were being shot at. You didn't have to, right?
DOLE: No, I didn't have to, but he was a good friend of mine. And I think -- you know, that's just like it is in combat anywhere, as Ollie will tell you, your next guest, Ollie North, who's got a great record. And all the young men and women in Iraq, in Afghanistan, there's -- this has been going on since the Revolution. There are always enough young men and women out there in America to preserve our liberty and freedom and are willing to sacrifice.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know what's sort of interesting, though? A lot of them don't brag about it. You never hear about it. You meet people all the time who are war heroes, and you had no clue.
DOLE: I talked to a Medal of Honor winner. I had to almost pry it out of him, you know. And he was from Kansas, Walt Ehlers (ph). And he's just a nice guy and did a lot of heroic things. But the room was filled with people who had Silver Stars and Bronze Stars, and they don't talk about it. I mean, they're just happy to be alive and be here, and they love this country and...
VAN SUSTEREN: Why don't they talk about it?
DOLE: Well, we're trying to get -- we have this oral history program now through the Library of Congress. They're trying to get all these men and women to say what happened. And of course, we're at the point where there are not many of us left, so we can say anything happened. There's nobody around to contradict us anymore.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we have a family friend -- Gary Richie (ph) of Appleton, Wisconsin, if you're listening, now everybody knows -- two Silver Stars and one Bronze Star.
DOLE: That's right. You told me about that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes. He won't tell anybody about it. He's a hero. And he's just a guy -- he doesn't want anybody to know he's a hero. He just wants to be a citizen and do a good job.
DOLE: Well, there are going to be a lot of heroes around tomorrow, and the weather's going to be great. And I'm really -- it's going to be kind of a valley of tears, I think, at certain points. It's a very emotional thing the first time you walk in and take a look and -- but it is long overdue.
VAN SUSTEREN: Two former presidents and President Bush is going to speak tomorrow, right?
DOLE: President Bush speaks, Fred Smith speaks, I speak, not a long program, about an hour. But people are going to take three hours to get here, it'll be an hour program.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ... almost tearful when you walk around and see these families, you can't help but feel a little bit choked up (UNINTELLIGIBLE) walking around.
We're going to take a quick break, Senator. Stand by.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HIRAM CAMPBELL, WORLD WAR II VETERAN: I think a lot of this younger generation don't realize what we went through, and I think this will kind of open their eyes up a little bit and realize what this is or all about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: We're back with Senator Bob Dole, live from the new World War II memorial in Washington, D.C. Senator Dole is the national chairman of the memorial fund-raising campaign.
Senator, that soldier said that we don't -- a lot of people don't understand what you went through. How do you describe that to us?
DOLE: Well, he's probably right, I mean, because if people don't talk about it -- they don't talk about it. But I don't think we go through any more than these young men and women are going through now, probably not as much because they have these high-tech weapons and everything has changed and -- but you know, if you get shot, I don't care what war it's in, you know, you can have some bad consequences.
VAN SUSTEREN: You visit and -- you go to Walter Reed, right, and visit from time to time.
VAN SUSTEREN: What do you say to those soldiers who are wounded -- I mean, missing limbs, eyes, I mean, terrible things that happened to them.
DOLE: Well, you go out and you thank them. You know, the five magic words are, "Thank you for your service." You say that first, and their eyes kind of light up and their face lights up because you recognize that they really made a sacrifice. Then you sit around and talk to them. You know, they know they've got a problem, but they're young and -- what, 19, 20 years old, smart. And a lot of them want to go back to their units. I mean, here they are with a -- an amputee wants to go back, doesn't want to leave the service. Now, I'm sure that was the same commitment in World War II, but I don't recall it quite that intense.
VAN SUSTEREN: When you went off to World War II, did you have any idea -- I mean, with the media being so different today than it was then, in terms of how much information -- any idea what you were getting yourself into?
DOLE: No. I came from a little town and I ended up at OCS and became a second lieutenant. And they said, OK, we got -- we need some people in the 10th Mountain Division. And General Clark (ph) was our -- you know, he was a big -- he never called me once. I mean, I was over there months, and the top guy never called me. Of course, there were 15,000 second lieutenants in Italy, but -- and while I was on the ground, Senator McGovern was flying over in a Liberator -- what, B-24? I think it's B-24. Thirty-five missions. This guy's a great American hero himself, and he was even called a coward when he ran for president. I mean, people get all mixed up. And so we try to keep politics out of this dedication and out of the fund-raising. And it's just -- you know, we're all American. We're not Republicans or Democrats.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, in fact, you've got a lot of colleagues in the Senate -- or when you were in the Senate -- you have Senator Inouye, Senator Stevens, Senator Glenn -- there were a number of them who...
DOLE: We brought all the guys that are still -- well, guys -- well, they are guys -- all the guys still in Congress down here the day before they opened it. Fritz Hollings, Inouye, Stevens, John Warner, Akaka, Lautenberg, all these tough guys, you know? And they're going like this and -- Ollie (ph) walked in, said, "Jiminy, what was I doing 60 years ago?" And they all got great records. And there's, I think, six or seven House members, and that's it, maybe 14 out of 535. And it wasn't too long ago they had 400-some out of 535.
VAN SUSTEREN: Was that -- was that war different from other wars? Was World War II -- I mean...
DOLE: Oh, it was a pretty -- well, it was -- if you ever watched "Sanford and Son," this was the big one. I mean, this is the biggest thing that happened in the last 100 years. And had we not prevailed, we wouldn't be sitting here and talking -- I don't know what language. We wouldn't be sitting here at all, probably. So it was -- and we got in late. President Roosevelt had made a pledge not to send American boys. But he did the right thing. And Britain couldn't hold on much longer. And the vote was very close in Congress. You know, we were sort of isolationists then and -- but 400,000-plus lost their lives and another 400,000-plus were severely wounded. Ten percent -- General Kelly (ph) told me 10 percent of the Americans were in the service in World War II, 16.5 million. There must have been 165 million people in the country.
VAN SUSTEREN: And people really wanted to be in the service. I mean...
DOLE: Oh, they signed up. They did -- they...
VAN SUSTEREN: Lied about their age.
DOLE: Yes. Well, my dad did that in World War I, too. But I remember my professor told me I ought to join the Army, I wasn't doing much in school. So I thought he had a pretty good idea. We had all these farewell parties, and I never missed a single party but I missed a lot of classes and...
VAN SUSTEREN: I didn't miss many parties, either.
DOLE: Yes. Well, you got to have a little -- but I think that's one point I want to make. You know, it's all sort of gloom and doom. Everybody's so -- you know, it's a very emotional time. We had a lot of fun. I mean, these guys that are walking around now, not as quickly as they were 60 years -- we had a lot of fun. You know, we had parties. We'd go to Rome or somewhere on weekends. And there were a lot of good -- and you made these friendships that last forever. People live all over the country. I was in Brooklyn College for a while in an Army special program and -- you meet a lot of good people.
VAN SUSTEREN: What do you make of the embedded journalist program that we have today in Iraq? You like that? You think that's a good idea?
DOLE: I like it. I think it really -- if you really want to get -- well, certainly, Fox News knows very well. I mean, I think you get it firsthand. I mean, it's there. I mean, whatever you see, you can report. And Ollie does it all the time, and his cameraman's right here with us, so it's dangerous stuff.
VAN SUSTEREN: Terribly dangerous stuff. So tomorrow...
DOLE: Geraldo, too. He's over there a lot, crawling around. You know.
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, we all watch Geraldo.
VAN SUSTEREN: And so tomorrow, what time -- what time's the big...
DOLE: Two o'clock.
VAN SUSTEREN: Two o'clock.
DOLE: Two o'clock.
VAN SUSTEREN: And President Bush will be speaking.
DOLE: President Bush. None of the speeches are going to be very long and -- but be very appropriate.
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator Dole, thank you very much. And great job raising the money and spearheading this monument.
DOLE: Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: It's a terrific -- it's a gorgeous thing.
DOLE: It was worth it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, sir.
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