POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 19, 2012
In Memoriam: Tribute letters are pouring in, and many more condolences are posted via Facebook on staradvertiser.com. A few of the remembrances:
Quiet but powerful on behalf of so many
In so many ways, Sen. Inouye has influenced my career in public service.
During my very first days on Capitol Hill, I remember thinking about the legacy he had already created — and about how I could learn from him.
Sen. Inouye was a fighter. He fought for our country in World War II, then as the very first congressman to represent the state of Hawaii, and finally as the second-longest serving senator and the highest-ranking Asian-American elected official in American history.
Sen. Inouye exuded quiet leadership but wielded a powerful voice for working families in Hawaii. Over the course of his career, he funneled billions of dollars to strengthen the state's economy, promote jobs and protect natural resources. He stood up for organized labor, fought for better education and worked to expand services for veterans and military families — an issue very dear to his heart.
Sen. Inouye was a tireless advocate and a dear friend to many.
Hilda L. Solis
U.S. secretary of labor
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Tireless supporter of U.S.-flag shipping
The U.S. maritime industry and our nation have lost a true patriot and hero. Sen. Daniel Inouye will be missed.
Ever since he first arrived in Washington, D.C., in 1959 as a congressman from Hawaii, three years later becoming a senator, he was a tireless supporter and promoter of the U.S. maritime industry. He understood in real terms the critical importance of a strong U.S.-flag shipping community to serve the people of the United States, particularly those living in the non-contiguous states of Hawaii and Alaska, and territories such as Puerto Rico.
He was a leader in every sense of the word; his record of service to our nation was exemplary. He petitioned with other Japanese-Americans from Hawaii to join the military in World War II and gave his arm during battle in Italy while personally storming three enemy machine gun nests, earning the Medal of Honor. He was deeply respected by his peers on Capitol Hill for his integrity and character.
Ali Behruz Nikkhoo
Vice president and general manager, Hawaii division, Horizon Lines
Stood up for students of Hawaii and nation
Sen. Inouye understood that education is an investment, not an expense, and he consistently stood up for the students of Hawaii and our nation.
After heroically serving in World War II, he completed college and law school with help from the G.I. Bill, leading to a lifetime of public service and a commitment to bipartisanship that I deeply respected."
U.S. secretary of education
Long-time believer in civil rights for all
Sen. Inouye has been a long-time ally to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community. This was exemplified in 1996 when he was one of 14 U.S. senators who voted against the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" in 1996.
A reminder of Sen. Inouye's support was highlighted in his response when President Barack Obama expressed his support of equal marriage rights earlier this year.
Michael Golojuch Jr.
LGBT Caucus, Hawaii Democratic Party
Beloved leader, warrior and advocate
The walking on of Sen. Daniel Inouye leaves a hero-sized void in his native state of Hawaii, the U.S. Senate chamber and across Indian Country. It is with a heavy heart that we honor this man, who was such a beloved leader, warrior and advocate. Sen. Inouye was one of us and championed American Indian and Alaska Native issues.
He raised the level of dialogue on protecting tribal sovereignty, cultural traditions and government-to-government relationships. He served the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs with honor and respect. He will be missed immensely, and we at the Cherokee Nation are keeping his family in our thoughts and prayers.
Bill John Baker
Principal chief, the Cherokee Nation
Understood that travel aids cultural exchange
The U.S. travel community lost a close friend and ardent supporter.
Sen. Daniel Inouye was a tireless champion for travelers. He understood the important role that travel plays not only in driving Hawaii's economy, but also America's economy.
He was a key proponent for travel promotion, working to gain bipartisan support for many travel initiatives in Congress. Additionally, he understood the diplomatic tool that is travel — there is no better way to experience first-hand our rich culture than to travel to the United States.
President/CEO, U.S. Travel Association
Helped share aloha by supporting tourism
Sen. Inouye was a one-of-a-kind man who served Hawaii well. He was a leader that comes once in a lifetime and he will be truly missed.
He was a true advocate for Hawaii, and a strong supporter of Hawaii's largest economic industry, tourism. senator by definition was an ambassador of peace who embodied and shared the aloha spirit, introducing the world to Hawaii, its people, place and culture. His guidance and influence helped to bring APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) to the Hawaiian islands, where we were able to showcase Hawaii on an international stage beyond the surf and sand.
He was also instrumental in initiatives to modernize airports, Taiwan's entrance to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, and supporting the Hawaiian culture and natural environment.
Even up until last week, Sen. Inouye was working toward efforts to secure Kona as a second international port of entry for the state.
President/CEO, Hawaii Tourism Authority
Inspired others to rise above their hardships
I am deeply saddened by the passing of Sen. Daniel Inouye. He was an American with a deep love and unwavering commitment to a country which, in his youth, wasn't quite sure it loved him back.
Sen. Inouye was a warrior who was an exemplary standout within the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, itself the most highly decorated unit in the entire history of the United States Army. Even after serving heroically and losing an arm in combat he would sometimes be turned away at the barber shop in his uniform because of his race. He did not let this ugliness deter him from a life of service.
I remember first meeting Sen. Inouye with my senior class in high school. We were all in awe of this gentleman, and the example of his life showed each of us what a lifetime of hard work and service could accomplish. It was especially meaningful because he was an alumni of our high school and had been where we were; poor, hungry and full of dreams.
Later, when I was recovering from my own combat wounds at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, he reached out to me as a fellow McKinley High School grad and inspired me to overcome my injuries. He, and his longtime and dear friend Bob Dole, continue to inspire us all, to both speak and vote with our consciences, but work together for the good of the nation.
Congresswoman-elect, Illinois 8th District
Implemented Hawaiian values in his own life
There is an emptiness in the innermost part of us. For the many decades, Sen. Inouye has been the pouhana (main post) for those of us involved with the federal government's efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of our na kanaka maoli.
He worked tirelessly with his fellow congressional members and Hawaiian leadership, including his dear friend Myron Pinky Thompson, to pass and ensure the viability of the Native Hawaiian Health Care Improvement Act. Over the years, resources from that act have enabled thousands of Native Hawaiians access to health care and disease preventative services …
Driven by his early hanai experiences with Native Hawaiians and the values associated with the culture around aloha, kokua, laulima, and multitudes of others, he was a tireless advocate for doing the right thing based on those values he learned as a keiki o ka aina in his youth.
Executive director, Papa Ola Lokahi (Native Hawaiian Health Board)
Earned love for his voice recordings
All of the world has lost a great leader, and we'll remember Dan as a local boy who came from meager beginnings to become one of the most influential — if not powerful — men in the world, and my friend for more than 50 years. His Senate seat will be filled, but no one will fill his shoes.
Sen. Inouye is also well known for his speaking voice and as a recording artist since 1969, when he narrated an LP to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hawaii statehood.
Inouye's calm, booming and mellifluous voice became famous in the 1968 Democratic Convention; in 1973 at the Watergate Commission hearings; and in 1987 as chairman of the Iran-Contra investigation.
His more recent recordings — "Yes, We Remember" in 1991 and "Whisper Semper Fi, The Ballad of the Leatherneck" in 2009 — have been downloaded by 500,000, and are still available free at www.hawaiiansong.com.
Dan will never be forgotten.
Encouraged efforts to organize teachers
Mahalo to our U.S. senator for his ultimate service to Hawaii's people.He has been my "significant other" for more than 60 years.
Growing up in the mid-'50s, I listened as he and other legislators gathered in our family's living room to discuss the rights of workers to organize and be treated with respect and dignity. Like my dad, when collective bargaining became a reality in Hawaii in the '70s, he supported and encouraged me in my endeavors and efforts to lead Hawaii's teachers in this untested arena.
In the mid-'70s, elected by members of the National Education Association, I served on its executive committee for six years and Sen. Inouye never turned me away during my D.C. trips to discuss labor and education issues. He was most proud of the educational opportunities he was able to provide through legislation to our Native American children. He often assured me that America's teachers were the finest, and when the time came, he stood up for America's teachers in the halls of Congress and in the creation of the U.S. Department of Education.
Like many others, my heart is heavy as I grieve the passing of my U.S. senator and friend. I know that he served all of us well and did his best for Hawaii's people.
Odetta Kealalio Fujimori
First president, Hawaii State Teachers Association