Forever grateful: Remembering Senator Dole, on the first anniversary of his passing

By Harry Bajraktari

It was an honor to participate, with our community and former Prime Minister of Kosova, Ramush Haradinaj, on the first anniversary of the passing of Senator Dole at the Arlington Cemetery in Washington D.C.

I want to thank Jim Xhema and Senator Dole’s family for organizing the event.

Senator Dole was a great friend of our community and of the Albanian Nation. He was a great US Senator and a great American.

I have had the pleasure of meeting him several times over the year, including when he received the Presidential Medal from the Bujar Nishani, the President of Albania.

Senator Dole will be remembered especially for his historic visit to Prishtina, in August 1990, when Kosova was still virtually unknown in Washington and had been ignored by the rest of the international community.

Leading a delegation of six US Senators, Dole met with President Ibrahim Rugova and other Kosovar leaders of the resistance against Serbian occupation. With his visit he placed Kosova on the map and drew the attention of the international community to the plight and the just cause of the Kosovar people.

Throughout his life he remained a supporter of the freedom and the independence of Kosova.

We were fortunate to know him and I would like to thank in particular, my friend, Jim Xhema, who led the way in our work with Senator Dole.  

The Albanian Nation will always be grateful Senator Dole did for Kosova and our region. We will always remember him as our hero.

God bless his soul!

Harry Bajraktari is founder and publisher of Illyria newspaper (1991-1998), an Albanian-American community leader, philanthropist, and recipient of many awards, including the Honor of the Nation Order by the President of Albania, Kosova’s Presidential Medal for Merits & the White House Presidential Call to Service Award.