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Bob Dole to return to town in Italy where he was wounded

Kansas’ Bob Dole, 92, plans to fly with his wife Elizabeth to Italy, to return to the town where he was severely wounded during World War II. He was in Hutchinson last month at the Kansas State Fair.
Kansas’ Bob Dole, 92, plans to fly with his wife Elizabeth to Italy, to return to the town where he was severely wounded during World War II. He was in Hutchinson last month at the Kansas State Fair. The Wichita Eagle

Bob Dole will fly with his wife Elizabeth to Italy on Tuesday.

He plans to return to the town where seven decades ago he was severely wounded during World War II.

Dole, 92, is a former U.S. senator from Kansas, former U.S. Senate majority leader and was the 1996 Republican candidate for president.

“In addition to visiting Rome and Florence, I will also return to the place that changed my life 70 years ago on a battlefield outside the small town of Castel D’Aiano,” he said, in a prepared statement from his office in Washington, D.C.

“While in Castel D’Aiano, I will lay a wreath at the 10th Mountain Division Memorial to honor the memories of those who lost their lives defending freedom.”

Dole, a young U.S. Army lieutenant from Russell, nearly died of his war wounds, was hospitalized for three years and went through the rest of his life with a useless right arm and a left arm that is minimally functional.

He’s still politically active; in the past year he’s expressed public regret: for the policies of Democrats and for how some Republican leaders disparage political compromise.

Last year he visited every county in Kansas, greeting well-wishers and expressing gratitude to Kansans for trusting him with a career of service.

“I have often thought that what happened to me on April 14, 1945, may have been a blessing in disguise, since I have enjoyed so many opportunities during my lifetime,” he said on Monday.

Reach Roy Wenzl at 316-268-6219 or rwenzl@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @roywenzl.

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