This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes", May 27, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: On Saturday, the national World War II (search) memorial will be dedicated on the mall in Washington, and the entire country will honor those brave individuals who fought and died defending freedom around the world in that conflict.
Joining us now from Washington, a man who had as much to do with the creation of this memorial as anybody, former Senate majority leader and presidential nominee, a World War II veteran himself, Bob Dole.
Senator, good to have you with us tonight. Thank you very much.
BOB DOLE, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Happy to be here, and we've -- glad we had a great start. We're already off to a good start.
COLMES: Why did it take so long to get this memorial up and going? We already had a Korean War memorial and a Vietnam memorial. This war goes back 60 years. Why did it take so long?
DOLE: I think we all forgot about it. We didn't think -- and really it's not for the veterans. There are only four million of us left out of 16-plus million who served in World War II. And I don't think anybody ever thought it was a matter of any urgency.
But some guy at a picnic somewhere talked to Congressman Kaptur -- Marcy Kaptur and said, "Why don't we have a World War II memorial?"
She said, "I'll go back and look." And she introduced a bill two or three years, and of course, it passed quite easily. And then they started to raise money, and they hadn't gotten very far. And that's when I had the opportunity to provide what leadership I could.
COLMES: And you raised money, as you've done so well through many political contests, right?
DOLE: I had a lot of help from a guy named Fred Smith, who's the chairman and CEO of FedEx and thousands of others. We had a fellow named Jim Mayo, where he was sort of the director of everything and -- but 600,000 contributions from school kids, you know, to $1 million from an Armenian American. And he's from Pennsylvania, Sarqi Sarcopian, who's not a veteran.
He said if he hadn't won the war I wouldn't have any business and I think I owe this to you guys.
COLMES: This weekend is supposed to be the largest gathering ever of World War II veterans since the end of the war.
DOLE: I believe it. I've been out -- I was out -- I've been out several times in the past few days, and they're -- they're all over the place. And many are, you know, teary-eyed, and they've got their daughters, or their wives or relatives, family.
And I think actually, some of these guys are still living for the day this is done. And it will start on Saturday at 2 p.m. And it's going to be a tremendous crowd.
This afternoon we had Senator McGovern and I, two losers in presidential races, Democrat-Republican. But we had a crowd of about 2,000 people and we each started telling our sort of war stories, what happened when we were in the war.
And, of course, George McGovern has a great war record. He's 35 combat missions and almost shot down, and a lot of people overlooked that when he was running for president. But he and I have been good friends for a long time.
COLMES: After you served, you had a three-year hospitalization. And I bring it up in the context of raising money. Because didn't they have a little cigar box at Dawson's drug store in Russell, Kansas, where citizens put in what amounted to pennies and nickels, and you ended up with about $1,800?
DOLE: Yes. One guy -- $100, the biggest contribution from a guy that had an oil well or two back then. The name is Mr. Sallins.
We had the one farmer, Mr. Wiggley, didn't have any money. He brought us a live duck that we had for dinner. So I mean, you know how people are. When somebody's in trouble in a small town, everybody sort of rallies around.
And my doctor, Dr. Kalikian, was an Armenian. Great surgeon, orthopedic surgeon in Chicago. He wouldn't charge me, but of course, I had to pay the hospital. He operated on me five or six times and never take a dime because he had lost a brother in World War II.
COLMES: That's an amazing -- Your story is an amazing story. Spending that number of years recuperating. And I can only imagine what kind of soul-searching you went through and how that might have changed you.
DOLE: Yes. You know, I think it did change me. I don't believe I was very sensitive to people with disabilities before this happened. If you're healthy and an athlete and all, it's not that you -- you just don't notice it.
But once you've joined the club, you become quite sensitive. And I used to do a lot of legislating in the House and the Senate on disability issues.
But, you know, there's always a bright side if you look for it. And if you sort of curl up in a ball and say, well, "Life's not fair. I've been singled out or something."
But I've had a lot of help, good family, and a lot of help over the years. And I learned to dress myself and learned to feed myself after I learned to walk, and so it's -- I think I've done quite well.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Senator, good to see you again, Sean Hannity.
HANNITY: My dad served four years in the Pacific in World War II, and he's since passed away. I think he would have been proud of what you've been able to accomplish. You spent a lot of years.
They were the greatest generation. No doubt about it.
DOLE: I think we're -- You know, I think we're ready to pass that baton to the young men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq.
We're sort of the disappearing generation. You say your father passed away. We've lost about 12 million out of the 16. So the memorial is not for us.
I think the message ought to be when you leave there is that sometime in your life you may be called upon to make a sacrifice for your country, and that's what it's really all about.
HANNITY: You know, it's funny, because it's -- when you think back of this country after Pearl Harbor and how we united, and my dad, like with all his friends, he was young at the time. They just -- they all ran and raced. There was no question about it. Everybody he knew signed up.
HANNITY: The women back here in the states were offering all that logistical support and building the munitions to help those guys in the field. We pulled together as a country.
And I compare that threat with the threat that we're now facing today, and I can't imagine to the degree that this has now been politicized, the war on terror. I can't imagine it ever happening then.
And frankly, it's shocking that I would argue people on the left don't understand that the people that are after us, they're not looking at your registration card if you're a Republican or a Democrat. They want to kill all Americans.
DOLE: Well, you know, if you look back on World War II, there was a very close vote in Congress, and FDR had said he wouldn't send American boys to, you know, fight on foreign land. But fortunately, he made the right decision, and he was, again, one of my mentors, having a disability.
But Congress wasn't decided. We were sort of an isolationist country at the time.
But I think the thing that's different, we all made sacrifices then. This is about a generation; it's not about those of us in uniform. It's about a whole generation of people.
You couldn't buy gas then. You couldn't buy silk stockings. You had to put your curtains down at night. You hung your little blue star in the window if you had a son in the service.
And today, you know, who makes any sacrifice other than the young men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world and their families? That's about it.
HANNITY: They make sort of the -- they have the brunt of the sacrifice, there's no doubt about it.
You know, and I think about it in terms of here's a former vice president yesterday, Al Gore -- we're going to play this later. Ollie tonight is in -- on the USS Iwo Jima. We're going to go there in a few minutes, going to say hi to him.
But Al Gore (search) screeching and shrill and angry and bitter, just...
DOLE: He must have picked that up from Howard Dean. I don't know what...
HANNITY: Did you see it?
DOLE: I have never seen Al so animated. And I served with him for, I don't know, 20 years in the Senate, and we've been on sort of on a little speaking tour together. But he was really cranked up yesterday and...
HANNITY: But isn't that -- but what does that say to the troops, when he's out there screeching like that? What does it say to our country not being united? You know, when you make the World War II comparisons?
DOLE: Well, I think in World War II, I don't think we had any of this -- we were united. We didn't have this divided political -- you know, FDR was our commander in chief.
I remember the day he died, April 12, 1945. We were all in tears. We were 18, 19, 20-year-old guys. We didn't know a thing about politics.
So I don't know what happened. This generation, of course, are much more intelligent. They're more globally oriented. They understand politics better than we do. I assume it's not good news if you happen to pick it up on radio or television.
HANNITY: Let me ask you...
DOLE: But I doubt that it makes that much difference to the guy on the ground.
HANNITY: Does he get -- does that type of shrieking by a former vice president give comfort to the enemy?
DOLE: I wouldn't go that far. I mean, a lot of us shriek now and then. But -- but is anybody listening, I think that's the other side of the coin. I mean, I know it's played on television.
But, you know, the message is not -- it doesn't mean as much now when Al or Bob Dole or somebody is out of office. We may scream or carry on, but most people don't pay any attention.
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