Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole received the Congressional Gold Medal in a ceremony Wednesday at the Capitol.
President Donald Trump hailed Bob Dole, who endorsed the president during his campaign, as a "true American hero" as he, Vice President Mike Pence, and Senate and House leaders presented Dole with the highest civilian honor.
"He has never stopped earning his place in the pages of American history," Trump said.
The president commended the former senator for his resilience while recovering from gruesome injuries sustained during World War II before launching his political career.
"He knows about grit," Trump said of Bob Dole's recovery. "He learned the values of loyalty, integrity, hard work, faith and family that have defined him ever since."
Bob Dole spoke from a wheelchair as he thanked the speakers at the ceremony and his staff.
"I am extremely honored to accept this great honor," he said.
His wife, former U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole, read a prepared statement reflecting on her husband's government service and time in the military.
"I share with you a lesson learned over 60 years," Elizabeth Dole said. "Leadership begins with the long view."
Bob Dole represented Kansas in the Senate from 1961 to 1996, making him the longest-serving Republican in the Senate's history.
"He is widely known for his bipartisan, levelheaded approach to hot-button issues such as Social Security," a statement from the White House said.
"As America reaches a crossroads on pivotal issues from immigration and security at our borders to opioids and crumbling infrastructure in our heartland, our leaders in Congress must look to Dole as a role model now more than ever."