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President awards Medal of Freedom to late U.S. Sen. Inouye

By Star-Advertiser staff

& Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:10 a.m. HST, Nov 21, 2013

President Barrack Obama bestowed the nation's highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, to the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye at a ceremony today in the East Room of the White House.

Inouye has already received the military's highest honor for valor in combat, the Medal of Honor, for his bravery in World War II while serving with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

Inouye's widow Irene Hirano accepted the award for the senator, who died last year at the age of 88.

"He taught all of us that no matter what you look like or where you come from, this country has a place for everybody who's willing to serve and work hard," President Obama said in presenting the award.

"After being classified as an "enemy alien," Danny joined a Japanese American unit that became one of the most decorated in World War II. And as the second-longest serving senator in American history, he showed a generation of young people -- including one kid with a funny name growing up in Hawaii who noticed that there was somebody during some of those hearings in Washington that didn't look like everybody else, which meant maybe I had a chance to do something important, too," Obama said.

Inouye was a World War II hero who became the first Japanese American to serve in Congress, representing the people of Hawaii from the moment they joined the Union.

Obama also honored former President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and other leaders in sports, science and public service. Obama said the recipients remind Americans of their own potential.

Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, who played for the Chicago Cubs, is also being honored.

Obama said the late Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, showed America's daughters, including his own, that they can set their sights high.

The ceremony opens a day of tributes to Kennedy ahead of the 50th anniversary of his assassination Friday. Kennedy established the modern version of the medal but died before the first presentation.

Wednesday night, Obama will speak at a  dinner at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History honoring medal recipients. Among those expected to attend were baseball's Hank Aaron, singer Aretha Franklin, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, activist Jesse Jackson, civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.


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Ken_Conklin wrote:
Yup, today Dan Iouye is right up there with Dick Lugar and Oprah Winfrey.
on November 20,2013 | 05:43AM
hanalei395 wrote:
What Ken really hates is that Sen. Inouye was "right up there" with the Hawaiian people.
on November 20,2013 | 10:49AM
serious wrote:
Yup, add Jesse Jackson and Jimmy Carter!!!
on November 20,2013 | 12:25PM
BRock wrote:
Yup and what have you done with your insignificant life?
on November 20,2013 | 07:52AM
Ken_Conklin wrote:
Way more than you
on November 20,2013 | 09:25AM
kailuabred wrote:
So, you lost an arm also fighting for the country's freedom? No? I didn't think so.
on November 20,2013 | 09:43AM
Nevadan wrote:
Any Republicans getting awards?
on November 20,2013 | 08:34AM
steven_mark wrote:
Dick Lugar. Why do you ask?
on November 20,2013 | 09:21AM
Nevadan wrote:
As Bill C would say "It's his credibility, stupid"
on November 20,2013 | 07:36PM
allie wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on November 20,2013 | 09:23AM
palani wrote:
Nice to hear you say that, allie. The late Senator was a true hero in WWII, fighting on despite suffering numerous wounds resulting in the loss of his arm. That kind of sacrifice forgives a lot of later sins, in advance.
on November 20,2013 | 09:40AM
scooters wrote:
Clinton and Winfrey ARE JOKES..JUST DEMEANS the value of the award..Winfrey is just a stupid talk show host and a President Hussein lover!!!!!
on November 20,2013 | 10:21AM
BRock wrote:
Gee, you are almost as crass as Conklin.
on November 20,2013 | 10:39AM
Anonymous wrote:
It's like Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize right after getting elected.
on November 20,2013 | 06:13PM
Mythman wrote:
God Bless the USA
on November 20,2013 | 10:46AM
puamamane wrote:
Meaningless award from a meaningless pres. Embarrassing. Sen Inouye should not be receiving an award equal to the likes of Oprah, he deserves better.
on November 20,2013 | 11:30AM
serious wrote:
Medal of Honor was deserved--he earned it. But, would someone, anyone, please, other than pork, did he do for Hawaii? Jones Act--hey, that's how he got reelected on the backs of us citizens who pay 3 times more than mainlanders for the same stuff.
on November 20,2013 | 12:27PM
pcman wrote:
IRT puamamane on Inouye. I agree. This is a way of getting even (leveling the playing ground) with Dan Inouye by pulling him down. This goes to show the presidential award is way below the Medal of Honor, when Inouye's sacrifices are compared with the likes of Oprah, baseball player and actors. Shame on Obama.
on November 20,2013 | 03:50PM
wahine wrote:
Well deserved honor. Too bad Obama's speech was emotionless. Talk about going through the motions...
on November 20,2013 | 12:29PM
Ken_Conklin wrote:
Dan Inouye might have deserved the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Medal of Honor for some of his activities in service to our nation. But throughout his last 20 years, in the area where I am an expert, I know he deserved a Medal of Lying and Dishonor for the lies he repeatedly told about Hawaii's history on the floor of the U.S. Senate, during the debate in 1993 about the apology resolution and during the debate in 2006 about the Akaka bill cloture motion. And he repeatedly tried to pass the Akaka bill by deception, hiding it in secret, unknown to any other Senators, as a single sentence deep inside military appropriations bills.
on November 20,2013 | 03:10PM
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