Dole, who died on Sunday at age 98, played a major role in the effort to build the memorial, which opened in 2004, and Hanks was an advocate to get it built.
As he told the crowd at the memorial, Dole “did all but mix the concrete himself.”
“Bob Dole came to this plaza often to remember, to talk with veterans like himself and to their posterity, by greeting them with a shake to his left hand,” Hanks said. “The memory and conscience of the man himself will always be here, right here, for as long as there is an America and that is a good thing, because here, we will always remember Bob Dole.”
Hanks is the campaign chair for the Hidden Heroes Campaign, which supports military caregivers and is an initiative of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.
Hanks said that Dole “called this a memorial to peace, so that all generations would remember that peace is achieved in shared labor, by shared sacrifice.”
Dole was eulogized by President Joe Biden earlier on Friday at a service at the National Cathedral. His body then will be flown to Kansas, his native state, for services there.
“I found Bob to be a man of principle, pragmatism and enormous integrity,” Biden said.
Dole was severely wounded in combat in Italy in 1945. The long recovery left him with little use of his right arm. Dole went on to a political career in the House and the Senate, where he served as majority leader. He also was the Republican vice presidential nominee in 1976 and, 20 years later, the presidential nominee. He lost in 1996, but his rival awarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom the following year. Clinton was at the National Cathedral service along with Vice President Kamala Harris, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Vice President Dan Quayle.
Also speaking at the World War II Memorial was Savannah Guthrie, the co-host of Today, who said that Dole “once called himself the most optimistic man in America, and if he could be, surely we can too.”
Tom Hanks: "The memory and conscience of the man himself will always be here, right here, for as long as there is an America and that is a good thing, because here we will always remember Bob Dole." pic.twitter.com/Ode39wOBlb
— CSPAN (@cspan) December 10, 2021
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