Sen. Daniel Inouye
U.S. Defense Sec. Leon Panetta issued the following statement on the passing of Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii. Inouye, 88, died Monday from respiratory complications at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, which he entered earlier in the month. His staff said his last word was “Aloha.”
“The men and women of the Department of Defense have lost one of their most dedicated advocates, and I have lost a dear friend, with the passing of Sen. Daniel Inouye. His life of service to the people of Hawaii and to this nation embodied the essence of the American dream, and the heroism of the greatest generation.
“A World War II veteran of the legendary 442nd Regimental Combat Team, his display of leadership and valor in a gun battle that cost him his arm rightfully earned him the Medal of Honor. His determination to recover and his extraordinary career that followed continue to inspire wounded warriors today. In the U.S. Senate, he was one of the most stalwart and effective advocates of the Department of Defense, and a relentless champion of our men and women in uniform and their families. I was honored to have the opportunity to work closely with him when I served as a member of Congress, and in the Clinton and Obama administrations.
“Daniel Inouye’s legacy will long endure in the better quality of life he helped bring to generations of military personnel and their families, to the people of Hawaii, and in the contribution he made to a stronger defense of the United States of America. The thoughts and prayers of all of us at the Department of Defense are with the Inouye family in this time of grief and remembrance.”
Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, issued the following statement:
“I was deeply saddened to learn of Senator Inouye’s passing today. His career in the United States Senate was as distinguished as it was extensive. He helped steer this nation through triumphs and tragedies, victories and defeats. And he towered above us all with his incredible gallantry and heroism in the Second World War. His passing leaves a long shadow in Congress. My prayers are for him and with his family during this holiday season.”
Statement from Inouye’s office:
Inouye receives the Medal of Honor
United States Senator Daniel K. Inouye, World War II veteran, Medal of Honor recipient and Hawaii’s senior Senator, passed away from respiratory complications at 5:01 p.m. Eastern Standard Time today at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
His wife Irene and his son Ken were at his side. Last rites were performed by Senate Chaplain Dr. Barry Black.
He is survived by his wife, Irene Hirano Inouye, his son Daniel Ken Inouye Jr., Ken’s wife Jessica, and granddaughter Maggie and step-daughter Jennifer Hirano. He was preceded in death his first wife, Maggie Awamura.
Senator Inouye’s family would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for the extraordinary care he received.
The story of Dan Inouye is the story of modern Hawaii. During his eight decades of public service, Dan Inouye helped build and shape Hawaii.
Senator Inouye began his career in public service at the age of 17 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army shortly after Imperial Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He served with ‘E’ company of the 442 Regimental Combat Team, a group consisting entirely of Americans of Japanese ancestry. Senator Inouye lost his arm charging a series of machine gun nests on a hill in San Terenzo, Italy on April 21, 1945. His actions during that battle earned him the Medal of Honor.
Following the war he returned to Hawaii and married Margaret “Maggie” Awamura, and graduated from the University of Hawaii and the George Washington University School of Law.
After receiving his law degree, Dan Inouye, returned to Hawaii and worked as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu. He recognized the social and racial inequities of post-war Hawaii, and in 1954 was part of a Democratic revolution that took control of the Territorial Legislature.
Following statehood in 1959, Dan Inouye was privileged to serve as Hawaii’s first Congressman. He ran for the Senate in 1962 where he served for nearly nine consecutive terms.
Dan Inouye spent his career building an enduring federal presence in Hawaii to ensure that the state would receive its fair share of federal resources. He worked to expand the military’s presence on all major islands, stabilizing Pearl Harbor, building up the Pacific Missile Range and constructing a headquarters for the United States Pacific Command.
He has worked to build critical roads, expanded bus services statewide and secured the federal funds for the Honolulu Rail Transit project. He championed the indigenous rights of Native Hawaiians and the return of Kahoolawe.
He fought for the rights and benefits for veterans. Senator Inouye has left an indelible mark at the University of Hawaii, including support for major facilities and research assets. He has long supported local agriculture and alternative energy initiatives.
Dan Inouye was always among the first to speak out against injustice whether interned Japanese Americans, Filipino World War II veterans, Native Americans and Native Hawaiians.
A prominent player on the national stage, Senator Inouye served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, the Senate Commerce Committee and was the first Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
After developing a reputation as a bipartisan workhorse, who always would put country above party, he was asked by the Senate leadership to chair the special committee investigating the Iran Contra Affair. This was after a successful tenure as a member of the Watergate Committee.
When asked in recent days how he wanted to be remembered, Dan said, very simply, “I represented the people of Hawaii and this nation honestly and to the best of my ability. I think I did OK.”
His last words were, “Aloha.”
Daniel Inouye – Biography:
Daniel K. Inouye, the most senior member of the U.S. Senate and the President Pro-Tempore, is known for his distinguished record as a legislative leader, and as a World War II combat veteran with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, who earned the nation’s highest award for military valor, the Medal of Honor.
Although he was thrust into the limelight in the 1970s as a member of the Watergate Committee and in 1987 as Chairman of the Iran-Contra Committee, he has also made his mark as a respected legislator able to work in a bipartisan fashion to enact meaningful legislation.
As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Inouye has been able to focus on defense matters that strengthen national security, and enhance the quality of life for military personnel and their families.
This reflects his hope for a more secure world, and his desire to provide the best possible assistance to the men and women who put their lives at risk to protect the United States.
In addition, he is the Ranking Democrat on the Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee and the Indian Affairs Committee and sits on the Rules Committee.
He helped establish the Inter-parliamentary Exchange Program between the U.S. Senate and Japan’s legislature, and in 2000 the Government of Japan presented him with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun.
On June 18, 2011, the Government of Japan made Senator Inouye the seventh American and the first of Japanese descent to receive the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, the highest award in the order of the Rising Sun.
Early in his tenure in the Senate, Senator Inouye delivered the keynote address at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and was under consideration to become Hubert Humphrey’s vice-presidential running mate that same year.
He became the first Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 1976, served as the third-ranking leader among Senate Democrats as Secretary of the Democratic Conference from January 1979 through 1988.
He chaired the Senate Democratic Central America Study Group to assess U.S. policy and served as Senior Counselor to the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America (also known as the Kissinger Commission).
Senator Inouye has championed the interest of Hawaii’s people throughout his career. With his support, Hawaii’s infrastructure has been strengthened, its economy diversified, and its natural resources protected and restored. For local residents, particularly Native Hawaiians, whose history and welcoming culture give the state its defining characteristics, Senator Inouye has increased job training and employment opportunities, provided more community healthcare, and provided support services and research to help small businesses and diverse sectors, from agriculture to high technology.
His imprint is seen on all of the state’s islands through initiatives such as Honolulu and Neighbor Island bus service, steady construction jobs in support of military infrastructure, the diversification of agriculture, the birth of the Kauai High Technology Center and the rise of the Pacific Missile Range Facility, the launch of the Maui supercomputer, the expansion of national parks and wildlife refuges in Hawaii, and the protection of Hawaiian monk seals, sea turtles, the alala (Hawaiian crow), the nene goose and coral reefs.
Senator Inouye got his start in politics in 1954 when he was elected to the Territorial House of Representatives; soon after his election, his Democratic colleagues, well aware of Inouye’s leadership abilities, selected him as their Majority Leader. In 1958 he was elected to the Territorial Senate. When Hawaii became a state in 1959, he was elected the first Congressman from the new state, and was re-elected to a full term in 1960. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1962 and is now serving his ninth consecutive term.
On May 24, 2008, Senator Inouye married Irene Hirano, who is President of the U.S.-Japan Council. He was married for nearly 57 years to Margaret Awamura Inouye, a former instructor at the University of Hawaii, who passed away on March 13, 2006.
He has a son, Ken, who is married to Jessica Carroll from Rochester, New York, and a granddaughter Mary Margaret “Maggie” Inouye.