Inouye recalled as American heroBy BECKY BOHRER
THE Associated Press | December 24,2012HONOLULU — The late Sen. Daniel Inouye was remembered Sunday as an American hero whose legacy as a war veteran and longtime senator would be felt across Hawaii for years to come.
The memorial service at Honolulu’s National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific was attended by about 1,000 people, including President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Hawaii’s congressional delegation and a number of other senators, cabinet secretaries and other dignitaries.
“Daniel was the best senator among us all,” Reid told those assembled, adding later: “Whenever we needed a noble man to lean on, we turned to Sen. Dan Inouye. He was fearless.”
The cemetery, a strikingly beautiful site located in an extinct volcano, is the final resting place to thousands of World War II veterans. More than 400 members of the storied Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team — of which Inouye was a part — are buried at the site.
Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of the Navy’s U.S. Pacific Command, said this also will be Inouye’s final resting place.
“We have lost an irreplaceable American,” he said.
Several 442nd veterans attended the Sunday morning service, the latest in a number of tributes and honors for Inouye following the 88-year-old’s Dec. 17 death from respiratory complications.
Buses that brought people to the service flashed the words “MAHALO Senator Daniel K. Inouye” — using the Hawaiian word for thank you.
A 19-gun cannon salute was fired as Inouye’s coffin arrived at the cemetery. The service also featured a flyover by F-22 military jets and the playing of “Taps” by Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana.
Inouye’s widow, Irene, who was seated with the president and first lady Michelle Obama in the front row, dabbed her eyes as a band of bagpipes and drums band played “Danny Boy.”
Inouye was the first Japanese-American elected to both houses of Congress and the second-longest serving senator in U.S. history, at 50 years.
He was a high school senior in Honolulu on Dec. 7, 1941, when he watched dozens of Japanese planes fly toward Pearl Harbor and other Oahu military bases to begin a bombing that changed the course of world events.
He volunteered for a special U.S. Army unit of Japanese-Americans and lost his right arm in a battle with Germans in Italy. That scratched his dream of becoming a surgeon and he went to law school and into politics instead.
“He was a shining star of the greatest generation,” fellow Hawaii Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka said at the service.
Akaka, who served with Inouye for 36 years, also highlighted Inouye’s role in steering federal money to build roads, schools, housing and other infrastructure in Hawaii over the decades, from the beginning of statehood.
“Dan Inouye is Hawaii, and Hawaii is Dan Inouye,” Akaka said.
Inouye’s chief of staff, Jennifer Sabas, said Inouye was calm, in control and giving out instructions until the very end. Then, “he penned ‘aloha,’ and went on to a better place,” she said.
“Aloha, boss,” she said in closing, as she stood beside his flag-draped coffin.MORE IN Wire NewsWASHINGTON — House Republicans unveiled a slimmed-down bill Tuesday to address the immigration... Full StoryNEW YORK — When it comes to preventing the spread of germs, maybe the president is on to... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Seals have figured out fish they like to eat gather in schools around turbines in offshore wind farms. But the environment is not without hazards, maintenance vessels and noise pollution.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa disappears on this day in 1975, on this day in 2003, the last Volkswagen Type I, the Beetle, rolls off the assembly line in Mexico, Nelson Mandela on the primacy of teaching love over hate.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Vermont Yankee announces final day of nuclear power generation in Vermont, storm brings floods back to Chester, Castleton town manager to resign office, chronic offender sentenced to 25 years for sexual assault.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Rutland Herald content editor Rich Alcott shares local weather information and easily digestible news tidbits: Archaeologists find a leather shoe in a cave in Armenia that predates the Pyramids by more than a thousand years.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1932, President Hoover orders the Army to evict bonus marchers from Anacostia Flats; author Malcolm Lowry born this day, as is Jackie Kennedy and Mike Bloomfield; Stephen Crane on consuming one's own heart.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Rutland Herald content editor Rich Alcott shares local weather information and easily digestible news tidbits: Earth barely avoids being blasted by immense solar flare in 2012, astrophysicists say next time might not be so lucky.