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Tributes: Parting words from friends and colleagues

LAST UPDATED: 10:09 a.m. HST, Dec 18, 2012

Our country has lost a true American hero. … The second-longest-serving senator in the history of the chamber, Danny represented the people of Hawaii in Congress from the moment they joined the Union. In Washington he worked to strengthen our military, forge bipartisan consensus and hold those of us in government accountable to the people we were elected to serve. But it was his incredible bravery during World War II — including one heroic effort that cost him his arm but earned him the Medal of Honor — that made Danny not just a colleague and a mentor, but someone revered by all of us lucky enough to know him.

President Barack Obama


Danny was courage personified. From the battlefields of World War II where he received the Medal of Honor, to the floor of the United States Senate where he displayed incredible moral bravery, he was always the same — courageous and resolute. He was one of the most honorable men I ever met in my life, and one of the best friends you could hope for. He was honest and fiercely loyal, and I trusted him absolutely.

Vice President Joseph Biden


No matter what barrier was in his way, Danny shattered it. He was the highest-ranking Asian-American politician in history and the first Japanese-American to serve in the House of Representatives and Senate. He was a soldier, a Medal of Honor recipient and a hero. But … he never lost his humility and compassion.

(He was) a tireless advocate for the disenfranchised, minorities and women throughout the country. He spent his life working for a brighter future, and we are all better off for it.

Hillary Rodham Clinton
U.S. secretary of state


It is very difficult for me to bid aloha to my good friend, colleague and brother, Dan Ino­uye. Sen. Ino­uye was a true patriot and American hero. … His legacy is not only the loving family he leaves behind; it can be seen in every mile of every road in Hawaii, in every nature preserve, in every facility that makes Hawaii a safer place. …

He leaves behind him a list of accomplishments unlikely to ever be paralleled. … Every child born in Hawaii will learn of Dan Ino­uye, a man who changed our islands forever.

Sen. Daniel K. Akaka


Losing men of Sen. Ino­uye's caliber should do two things: remind us of the greatness of giants like him and challenge this Congress to put its nation first and its joint and singular ambitions far second. Never was it impossible for Sen. Ino­uye and me to reach agreement on even the most divisive and difficult issues.

I urge everyone to read Sen. Ino­uye's biography and then ask, "What is so hard about facing the challenges of today, when he and his compatriots triumphed over much worse without complaint?"

Pete V. Domenici
Former U.S. senator, R-N.M.


Sen. Inouye was a true servant-leader who inspired so many to step up and serve Hawaii and our nation. The fact his last word was "Aloha" speaks volumes about this iconic leader.

U.S. Rep.-elect Tulsi Gabbard
D-Hawaii, District 2


Sen. Inouye dedicated his life to serving the people of Hawaii and our nation. He was a decorated war hero, a great statesman and a tireless advocate for equality and justice. His passing is a great loss.

Mark E. Recktenwald
Chief justice, Hawaii Supreme Court


His record speaks for itself. Despite his significant accomplishments, Dan Ino­uye never forgot where he came from. His values, work and sense of honor were strongly rooted in Hawaii, and he pursued his vision for America with humility and bipartisanship.

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono


Sen. Inouye recognized the need for a strong military presence in the Asia Pacific region and worked diligently to ensure we are never again vulnerable in this part of the world. As a soldier himself, one who not only fought an enemy on the battlefield, but racial prejudices at home, one who was awarded this nation's highest honor for valor, one who embodied the duty, honor and country values we instill in today's soldiers, Sen. Ino­uye understood the sacrifices men, women and their families made in service to this great nation and tirelessly worked on their behalf.

Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski
Army Pacific commander


I deeply regret the passing of Sen. Ino­uye, for whom I had enormous respect as a famed soldier, a principled public servant and a United States senator who broke new historical ground with his service. He was a leader whose dignity and judgment caused him to be listened to by politicians of both parties and of all political philosophies.

He will be remembered as one of the great senators of the post-World War II era. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to serve alongside him.

U.S. Sen. Jim Webb


Sen. Inouye's dedication to Hawaii, its men and women in uniform, and to this great nation was exceptional and set a true example of devotion to country that all would do good to follow. We have lost a great friend, a true national hero, a tireless public servant and an irreplaceable American.

Adm. Samuel J. Locklear
Commander, U.S. Pacific Command


Beyond the titles, beyond the power and the influence, what most stands out is his thoughtfulness, his kindness and how he treated everyone with respect and aloha. I will never forget that lesson. … He taught all of us how to conduct ourselves as public servants.

Billy Kenoi
Mayor, Hawaii island


Thanks in large part to the senator, the East-West Center has a strong set of programs that serve an important function in U.S.-Asia-Pacific relations and understanding. Moving ahead, our work is one of the many legacies that Sen. Ino­uye leaves behind.

Charles E. Morrison
President, East-West Center


I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my dear friend and colleague. … I will miss his sonorous voice, his big heart, his self-effacing manner, his integrity and his patriotism.

Over the years, I worked closely on many issues with Sen. Ino­uye, including creating the first-ever Comprehensive Combat Casualty Care Center in San Diego. Our most severely wounded military men and women would not have this state-of-the-art healing facility without his help.

We will never be able to replace this remarkable American, who personified the meaning of love of country.

Sen. Barbara Boxer


The men and women of the Department of Defense have lost one of their most dedicated advocates, and I have lost a dear friend. … 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.

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.

Leon Panetta
U.S. secretary of defense


Equality Hawaii mourns (the) passing of Sen. Daniel Ino­uye. … (He) has long been a beacon of hope for those who endured ridicule and retribution for being different. … His tireless advocacy for the civil rights of all people will always be remembered.

Scott Larimer
Co-chairman, Equality Hawaii


This was an extraordinary man with a legacy which will never be surpassed. … He was (the University of Hawaii's) most distinguished graduate, and we are the grateful beneficiaries of the generosity he showed to us for decades. His long-standing support for the university and its new programs contributed immensely to the university's international reputation and helped make it one of the premier research institutions in the nation and the world. His contributions to us can simply not be measured.

M.R.C. Greenwood
President, University of Hawaii


The passing of Sen. Daniel Ino­uye today leaves a deep void in many hearts across our state and our nation. … Sen. Ino­uye was a tremendous role model to members of our caucus and so many other public servants, regardless of political affiliation. His legacy will live on in the countless people he so profoundly inspired.

Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson
(R, Fort Shafter-Moanalua Gardens-Aliamanu)
Hawaii House minority leader


Sen. Dan Inouye was one of the most loved and respected members in the history of the United States Senate. If you were fortunate enough to be from the great state of Hawaii as my wife was, you could not have a more loyal friend or more determined protector. In her career in the Reagan and Bush administrations, my wife, Wendy Lee Gramm, had no stronger advocate or supporter than Dan Ino­uye. She was a Republican and he was a Demo­crat, but they were both from Hawaii.

Phil Gramm
Former U.S. senator, R-Texas


Hawaii (has) lost a great champion. From his Medal of Honor in World War II to his years of public service, Sen. Ino­uye's heart and mind were always with his home state of Hawaii. He will be leaving behind a legacy of selfless service that will always be remembered. Aloha Oe, Sen. Daniel K. Ino­uye.

David S. Chang
Chairman, Hawaii Republican Party


Sen. Inouye's legacy will live forever for all of us in Hawaii. We would easily understate any attempt to measure all that Sen. Ino­uye has done for (Hawaii); in so many ways he was as instrumental to our economy as any industry.

Randy Perreira
Executive director, HGEA


Bishop Museum will always remember U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Ino­uye as a compassionate man who possessed an unwavering commitment to the culture and history of Hawaii and its native people.

The senator's support of the museum spanned decades. Through his visionary leadership, key measures, such as the Native Hawaiian Culture and Arts Program and the Native Hawaiian Education Act, enabled the creation of lasting programs and publications that ensured the preservation and perpetuation of Hawaiian traditions.

Blair D. Collis
President and CEO, Bishop Museum


The Native Hawaiian people will remember him as our ally and champion, a man who spent decades shepherding law after law to honor America's trust obligations and improve the health, education and well-being of Hawaii's first people.

Colette Machado
Board of Trustees, Office of Hawaiian Affairs


For more official tributes to U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, go to


'An irreplaceable American'

Hundreds hop shuttles to cemetery to say aloha

Military pays tribute to 'a giant'

Congress announces memorial services for Inouye

Inouye receives Capitol farewell befitting a great statesman

Several Democrats step forward to apply for Inouye seat

Obama, Biden to speak at cathedral service for Inouye

Akaka urges Senate to pass recognition bill in Inouye's honor

Daniel K. Inouye Memorial Fund to continue senator’s work

Hanabusa looks strong as possible replacement for Inouye

Isle delegation's power decreases to nil

A war hero to a U.S. senator

Hanabusa says she will apply for Senate vacancy

A war hero to a U.S. senator

On somber anniversary, Biden copes with a new loss

Daniel K. Inouye | 1924 - 2012

Inouye's letter details his 'last wish' for his successor

Democrats will name candidates to succeed Inouye on Dec. 28

In a rare honor, Inouye to lie in state at U.S. Capitol

President orders flags flown at half-staff for Inouye

Leahy succeeds Inouye as Senate president pro tempore

VIDEO: Senate remembers Sen. Inouye

Hawaii mourns 'An American hero'

Mikulski to become first woman to head Appropriations Committee, replacing Inouye

Sen. Inouye’s influence extended into sports realm

Congressional sway funneled billions of dollars to isle projects

A champion of Japanese-Americans

Lawmakers from both parties praise legacy of modest hero

Inouye advocated for Hanabusa to take his place in U.S. Senate

Inouye's impact on Hawaii was monumental

Sen. Inouye’s influence extended into sports realm

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye dies at age 88 of respiratory illness

Inouye wanted Hanabusa to succeed him in U.S. Senate

Statement from President Obama on Sen. Inouye's death

Gov. Abercrombie says public memorial will be planned

Inouye tributes come from White House to Honolulu Hale

VIDEO: Sens. Akaka and Reid speak about Inouye

Statement announcing Sen. Inouye's death

Sen. Inouye to remain in hospital indefinitely

Inouye 'fighting respiratory complications'

Photos: Remembering Senator Daniel Inouye Part I

Senator Daniel Inouye through Associated Press' lens Part I

Senator Daniel Inouye through Associated Press' lens Part II

Senator Daniel Inouye through Associated Press' lens Part III

Remembering Senator Daniel Inouye Part II

Remembering Sen. Daniel Inouye Part III

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