Bob Dole, longtime GOP senator and presidential nominee, lies in state at US Capitol

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Former Sen. Bob Dole -- a decorated World War II veteran and presidential candidate who served in Congress for 36 years -- lay in state at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday as the nation honored the late American statesman.

Dole died Sunday in his sleep at the age of 98.

MORE: Bob Dole, longtime public servant and WWII veteran, dies

Dole's wife of 46 years, Elizabeth, and daughter, Robin, were escorted by service members and alongside lawmakers for the formal arrival of Dole's casket ahead of a congressional tribute ceremony with remarks from President Joe Biden, who worked alongside Dole in the Senate for more than 20 years and called him "a man of extraordinary courage, both physical and moral courage."

Guests put their hands over their hearts as Dole's casket arrived inside the building with one man donning a sunflower mask, the state flower of Kansas, Dole's home state.

PHOTO: Elizabeth Dole and her daughter Robin watch as a joint services military bearer team moves the casket of former Sen. Bob Dole, during arrival at the U.S. Capitol, where he will lie in state in the Rotunda, Dec. 9, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Anna Moneymaker/AP)
PHOTO: Elizabeth Dole and her daughter Robin watch as a joint services military bearer team moves the casket of former Sen. Bob Dole, during arrival at the U.S. Capitol, where he will lie in state in the Rotunda, Dec. 9, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Anna Moneymaker/AP)

The Capitol ceremony began with an invocation by House Chaplain Margaret Kibben who said Dole has "revealed to us what moral and faithful service should be."

"In extolling Sen. Dole's unequal integrity, disarming humor, and deep compassion, may we be inspired to reach into the depths of our own small-town virtues or our big city bravado to emulate this plain spokesman statesman, this decorated war hero, this, your, humble servant," she said in an opening prayer.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a ceremony honoring the late Sen. Bob Dole in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol where he will lie in state on Dec. 9, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
PHOTO: President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a ceremony honoring the late Sen. Bob Dole in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol where he will lie in state on Dec. 9, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Biden, in his remarks, first thanked Dole's daughter and wife, who also served in the Senate, representing North Carolina, for allowing the ceremony to take place. He then said, "America has lost one of our finest patriots."

"We meet here in the very heart of American democracy, the Capitol of the United States of America, to receive a hero of that democracy for a final time," Biden began. "Robert Joseph Dole belongs here in this place, in this temple of liberty to liberty and temple to possibilities."

MORE: Sen. Bob Dole's passing serves as reminder of bygone era: The Note

"He, too, was a giant of our history, and that's not hyperbole," Biden said, after listing great leaders in American history, including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower and Martin Luther King Jr. "It's real. Of wit and grace, of principle and persistence, of courage and conviction."

PHOTO: President Joe Biden crosses himself after delivering remarks near the casket of former Senator Bob Dole during a congressional lying in state ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 9, 2021.  (Jonathan Ernst/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: President Joe Biden crosses himself after delivering remarks near the casket of former Senator Bob Dole during a congressional lying in state ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 9, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: The casket of former US Senator Bob Dole lies in state at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2021.  (Andrew Harnik/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: The casket of former US Senator Bob Dole lies in state at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2021. (Andrew Harnik/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The president shared a light-hearted, personal story before reading a portion of Dole's final message to the nation, adding that, "Bob deserves the final word."

"They once asked him, why in God's name did he vote to continue to fund Amtrak. He said because if he didn't, Biden would stay overnight and cause more trouble," Biden said to laughter. "Bob and I, like many of us here, we disagreed on a number of things, but not on any of the fundamental things. We still found a way to work together."

"As divided as we are, the only way forward for democracy is unity, consensus," Biden said. "We can find that unity again."

PHOTO: The casket arrives at a Congressional memorial service for former Sen. Bob Dole, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C, Dec. 9, 2021. (Sarahbeth Maney/UPI/Shutterstock)
PHOTO: The casket arrives at a Congressional memorial service for former Sen. Bob Dole, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C, Dec. 9, 2021. (Sarahbeth Maney/UPI/Shutterstock)

MORE: Bob Dole to lie in state at Capitol on Thursday as nation honors US senator, war hero

Biden will also deliver a eulogy at Dole's memorial service on Friday at Washington National Cathedral, which will air on ABC News and ABC News Live.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered words on Dole's management in the Senate, with Dole having served twice as majority leader for Republicans, and got laughs when describing Dole's "trademark wit."

"'If I'd known, he said, we were going to win control of the Senate, we'd run better candidates,'" McConnell recalled. "I swear, Bob could have made it as a stand-up comic. But in that maiden speech, Bob was earnest. He was already championing a signature cause, helping Americans with disabilities," McConnell said, garnering a nod from Vice President Kamala Harris, who sat in the socially-distanced audience.

Thursday's ceremony at the Capitol was open only to invited guests, lawmakers said, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the public can watch online as he lies in state in the Capitol Rotunda until 8 p.m. -- an honor reserved for the most revered American officials.

PHOTO: Elizabeth Dole and her daughter Robin watch as a joint services military bearer team moves the casket of former Sen. Bob Dole, during arrival at the U.S. Capitol, where he will lie in state in the Rotunda, Dec. 9, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Anna Moneymaker/AP)
PHOTO: Elizabeth Dole and her daughter Robin watch as a joint services military bearer team moves the casket of former Sen. Bob Dole, during arrival at the U.S. Capitol, where he will lie in state in the Rotunda, Dec. 9, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Anna Moneymaker/AP)

Honor guards greeted the body of the late senator shortly after 9:45 a.m. on Thursday and carried his casket up the steps of the building Dole served in for nearly four decades. The last senator to lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda was the late Sen. John McCain in 2018. Twelve U.S. presidents have also had the honor.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who reminded in her remarks that Dole's service to Congress began in the House, blew former Sen. Elizabeth Dole a kiss as she went to speak. First lady Jill Biden and Elizabeth Dole also blew each other kisses as Biden began.

To conclude the ceremony, a military band played "Great is Thy Faithfulness," a song put to music by William Runyan in Kansas in 1923. A wreath with white and red roses was presented by Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, while the Senate wreath was brought out by McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

At one point, in an emotional moment, Elizabeth Dole laid her head on her late husband's casket and briefly looked up to the Rotunda.

PHOTO: Former US Senator Elizabeth Dole rests her head on her husband's casket as  former Senator Bob Dole lies in state at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2021.   (Jabin Botsford/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Former US Senator Elizabeth Dole rests her head on her husband's casket as former Senator Bob Dole lies in state at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2021. (Jabin Botsford/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, the wife of former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, lays across the casket of her husband as he lies in state in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 9, 2021 in Washington, D.C.  (Pool/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, the wife of former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, lays across the casket of her husband as he lies in state in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 9, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Pool/Getty Images)

Dole was severely wounded in action while serving as an Army officer in World War II and left with limited mobility in his right arm -- but he persevered. From humble beginnings, Dole went on to graduate law school, serve in the Kansas state legislature and then four terms in the House of Representatives and five terms in the Senate. He also led the Senate Republican Conference for more than a decade and was the longest-serving Republican leader until recently surpassed by Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

In Congress, Dole helped shape tax, social security and foreign policy, as well as government farm and nutrition programs. He was an advocate for the rights of veterans and Americans with disabilities, instrumental in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.

PHOTO: Sen. Bob Dole makes a speech to supporters in Topeka, Kan., April 10, 1995. (Doug Mills/AP, FILE)
PHOTO: Sen. Bob Dole makes a speech to supporters in Topeka, Kan., April 10, 1995. (Doug Mills/AP, FILE)

He was known as one of the "last lions of the Senate."

MORE: Honoring Bob Dole: Politicians react to former senator's death

Dole ran for president three times, losing primaries in 1980 to Ronald Reagan and in 1988 to George H.W. Bush. After winning the Republican party nomination in 1996, he lost the general election to Bill Clinton, who later presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

PHOTO: Former Senator Bob Dole reacts after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in ceremonies at the White House, Jan. 17, 1997. (Joyce Naltchayan/AFP via Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: Former Senator Bob Dole reacts after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in ceremonies at the White House, Jan. 17, 1997. (Joyce Naltchayan/AFP via Getty Images, FILE)

In a USA Today op-ed Dole finished on pen and paper less than two weeks before his death, he said Congress needs teamwork now more than ever, and wrote, "Those who suggest compromise is a sign of weakness the fundamental strength of our American democracy."

A formal departure ceremony from the Capitol will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Friday ahead of a funeral at Washington National Cathedral and ceremony at the World War II Memorial with remarks from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.

Dole's body will then be flown to Kansas for services in his home state.

Bob Dole, longtime GOP senator and presidential nominee, lies in state at US Capitol originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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