Dole dedication draws thousands

Institute to challenge next generation

Thousands stormed a Lawrence hillside for D-Day — that’s Dole dedication day — Tuesday morning on Kansas University’s west campus.

Politicians, visitors and veterans gathered for the formal dedication of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, an $11.3 million home for the former Kansas senator’s political papers, exhibits chronicling his generation’s challenges and an atmosphere to foster thinking — both political and academic — for years to come.

Among those gathered to recognize Dole on his 80th birthday included former President Jimmy Carter, current Kansas Sens. Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback, and NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw.

But the focus on the morning’s events fell on the subject of Brokaw’s best-selling book — the so-called “Greatest Generation,” those who survived and died in World War II.

The building itself chronicles the struggles and success stories of Dole and his generation, and encourages future leaders to strive for a better tomorrow.

“It will be dedicated to the proposition that every generation has the potential to equal or even surpass the achievements of the greatest generation, although heaven knows that will be hard,” said National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, President Bush’s representative at the dedication.

Also speaking Tuesday morning, Carter noted that the Dole Institute would offer the opportunity for a frank discussion of the issues affecting the country.

Carter said that many U.S. presidents, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, never would have contemplated a so-called “pre-emptive” war “unless it was a very proven and direct threat to the security of the nation.”

Carter said he also also welcomed discussion about the Patriot Act — a measure designed to ensure domestic security, but attacked by some as a threat to civil liberties.

“There will always be intense public debates as new ideas are put forward and new challenges come to our country,” Carter said. “That’s part of American life. And that’s part of patriotism, to be able and willing as individual citizens to engage ourselves in shaping, through our elected leaders, the inherent characteristics of a great nation.”

Those traits of greatness, he said, include justice, truth, peace, freedom, democracy, civil and human rights, a quality environment and the alleviation of suffering.

“Maybe the greatest generation have been the ones who have preserved peace and have demonstrated the other attributes of a nation, in addition to its military prowess,” Carter said.

In his opening remarks, Dole thanked KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway, former Gov. Bill Graves and others for their efforts to build the institute through donations from the private sector and government sources.

Dole, who called the institute “a dream,” described it as “a monument to Kansans and about Kansas.”

Dole said he wanted the institute to promote a “classy” form of political discussion, “where conviction co-exists with civility, and the clash of ideas is never confused with a holy war.”

America needs diverse views and a wide variety of opinions, he said.

“We need a competition of ideas,” he said. “We need a strong, two-party system. We need partisanship, but there comes a time we need to get things done.”

For more on the Dole dedication events, tune in to 6News at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. today on Sunflower Broadband’s channel 6, and pick up a copy of Wednesday’s Journal-World.