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Tributes and In Memoriam

LAST UPDATED: 12:22 a.m. HST, Dec 21, 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


Everyone in the Senate not only admired Danny Inouye, but they trusted him. We all knew he would do the moral thing regardless of the consequences — whether it was passing judgment on a President during Watergate or on another President in the Iran Contra hearings. And Danny always remembered where he came from — and how hard his family had to struggle. From having to fight for the right to fight for his country in the all Japanese-American 442nd, to his keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in 1968, he always spoke of the country's struggles with racism and bias, and his call for a "new era of politics." And to his dying day, he fought for a new era of politics where all men and women are treated with equality.

—Vice President Joe 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, D-Hawaii


The Senator gave everything. He knew the true meaning of "Go for Broke." He left us with a legacy of honor and service to the people of Hawaii, to the people of this nation, without parallel. The senator recently made clear to me his love and affection for us all. He said, "I represented the people of Hawaii and this nation honestly and to the best of my ability. I think I did OK." I'm sure we all believe he did OK. Our responsibility is to not just carry on, but carry through on his total devotion and commitment to Hawaii and its values.

—Gov. Neil Abercrombie


Sen. Daniel K. Inouye stood among the "greatest" of our "Greatest Generation." Recipient of the Medal of Honor, our nation's highest award for valor; distinguished service as a long-serving member of the U.S. Senate; and role model to generations of Americans of Asian-Pacific Islander heritage, especially those growing up in his beloved Hawaii.

Sen. Inouye made public service a noble and honorable calling. Dan Ino­uye's courage on the battlefield and in Congress, his passion for making a difference in the lives of average Americans, and his intense modesty spoke volumes about a remarkable American who embodied the bedrock values and quiet virtues of our nation.

—Retired Gen. Eric Shinseki, U.S. secretary of veterans' affairs


My dear friend Sen. Daniel Inouye, the senior senator from Hawaii, was one of the finest men I have known in my lifetime. He was one of the most distinguished senators this body has ever seen. … Sen. Inouye's son once asked him why — after being called "enemy aliens" and after being held in internment camps — he and the members of the famed 442nd fought so heroically. Sen. Inouye told his son that he fought "for the children." For children, there could be no finer role model than Sen. Inouye.

—Sen. Harry Reid, Senate majority leader (D-Nev.)


We in Israel feel we have lost a steadfast friend of our country and people. We shall forever remember his unflagging commitment to Israel's well-being, its security and economy, and defense-related projects that he supported (which) were instrumental in saving Israeli lives, for which we are grateful. He will always hold a special place in our hearts.

—Shimon Peres, President of Israel


We are all heartbroken to learn of the passing of this American hero. His legacy of self-sacrifice, service and aloha will never be replicated. … For all of his accomplishments, he never lost his sense of aloha or his love for Hawaii.

—Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz


Sen. Dan Inouye served the people of Hawaii and our country with great dignity and honor. A true statesman, his lifelong work has left an indelible mark on Hawaii and he leaves behind a legacy that we will never forget.

—Shan Tsutsui, State Senate president


On behalf of the House of Representatives, words cannot express the profound impact Sen. Inouye had upon our state and our nation. He helped shape our state since statehood, and devoted his life to public service, for which Hawaii will be eternally grateful. He has truly been a great hero for our people, past and present, and he will remain one of the great historical figures in Hawaii's history for time immemorial. We are deeply saddened by the news of the senator's passing and extend our prayers and condolences to his wife, Irene Hirano, and his son, Ken Inouye, and his family.

—Rep. Calvin Say, State House speaker


He was larger than life and had an impact far beyond his beloved island state. In his own life he shattered many barriers, more than deserved the Medal of Honor, and always fought for his positions and for Hawaii. He was a true hero and was the foundation of Hawaii's economy. His ability to get things done is legendary, unsurpassed, and he always crossed partisan lines.

—Sam Slom, State Senate minority leader


From the time he served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team until his final days in the United States Senate, he was a dedicated public servant who will be greatly missed by Hawaii and the nation. Senator Ino­uye provided invaluable support to the federal court in a myriad of ways over the decades he served in the Senate.

—Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway, U.S. District Court, District of Hawaii


It's hard to imagine Hawaii without our beloved Sen. Inouye. He was a true gentleman, an honored veteran and a man of the highest integrity. He wasn't a politician; he was a statesman. I had come to know him over the past few years as a generous and kind mentor who was always there for Kauai and made it known that the door was open for any request we might have. Kauai held a special place in his heart as he had family ties on Kauai and spent part of his childhood here. He truly set the foundation that Hawaii rests on today. He gave us hope and a strong belief that we can make things happen. He always encouraged me to look at all sides of the issue and to stand firm on a decision once it's made. And above all he reminded me to do everything with aloha. So now we say "aloha" to you, Sen. Inouye, and mahalo for your many, many good works — which will benefit us for generations to come.

—Bernard P. Carvalho Jr., Mayor, Kauai County


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


We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Sen. Daniel Inouye. Ever since Sen. Inouye began his career in public service in 1954, he has always championed the interests of Hawaii's people. His service to Maui County, the state and the entire nation will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones during this very difficult time.

—Alan Arakawa, Mayor, Maui County


For all of us at Central Pacific Bank, Sen. Inouye holds a special place in our hearts, not only as a former director of the board, but as one of the bank's key founding members. Ino­uye, a distinguished war veteran who saw how difficult it was for his fellow comrades to obtain loans upon returning home, had the foresight to conclude that the time had come to form a bank that could provide such services not only to the Japanese, but to all communities. Sen. Inouye exemplified true leadership, and was admired and beloved by many. He leaves behind an enormous legacy, one which we should all be very proud of.

—John C. Dean, President and CEO, Central Pacific Bank


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 of the Cherokee Nation



Condolences posted via Facebook on staradvertiser.com. More comments can be found at staradvertiser.com.

Back in 1963 I wrote you about my dislike for the military base I was stationed and in 5 days you had me shipping out to Germany and that move started my career to where I am today. You also came to Hughes Aircraft Co. and told our president of the company to hire more people from Hawaii. You have been an inspiration in my whole life. Thank you very much Senater Inouye. My deepest prayers are with you. — Stanley Ibrao

In my view, Senator Inouye stands for so many important moments in our history: First and foremost the 442nd and the important part the combat team played in WW II. I remember Senator Inouye as a person who always fought for the overcoming of prejudice and racism; and who always worked for the advancement of the state of Hawai‘i and our nation. His family and friends and colleagues are in my prayers. — Kristin Luana Baumann

My memorable moment for me to Senator Daniel K. Inouye was during my Freshman Year at Damien Memorial High School in the 1981-82 school year! I met Senator Inouye during a cloudy and rainy day at Thomas Square Park for the Annual Damien Day Parade march in April of 1982! To my astonishment, I presented my right hand to him for a traditional greeting hand shake only to see that Senator Inouye didn't have his right arm! I apologized to him, but he laughed with an understanding humor as he told me, "That's okay! I forget simple things sometimes!" Senator Inouye's humor was very impressionable as I shook his hand with my left hand! This was my greatest memory of him aside his outstanding and dedicated efforts in serving the people of Hawaii very well altogether! We'll definitely miss you Senator Inouye! — Ryannew Atmospera Azada

Fought a war for a country that had his family locked up in an internment camp. Hell of a man! Those were in fact men. I'm not sure they make them like that anymore. —Kevin Edwards

God Bless You, Senator Dan Inouye. [1924-2012] You were one of America's Greatest Public Servants — in War and in Peace — throughout your lifetime. Hawaii was most fortunate to have you in Congress since the first days of Statehood in the U.S. House and then the U.S. Senate until today. American Indians and Alaskan Natives have had few Greater Friends and Advocates in the Congress, the Government and the Nation. We'll miss your many visits to Western Washington, Franks Landing, and Seattle to rejoin your dwindling WWII Veterans unit. Our sorrow is deep. Our Prayers are with your wife and family. —Hank Adams

We have lost a great hero and dedicated US SENATOR that represented the state of HAWAII for all these years! You have accomplished monumental tasks and created a better place for all to live in Hawaii and we cherish all the fond memories of your unselfish dedication and inspiration to everyone. With Deepest Sympathy and Condolences to the Inouye Family — Aloha and Mahalo! —Wesley Nakahara

There are no words to express how much you were loved here in Hawaii. Your endless efforts and acts of valour shaped our Island and made us who we are today! You were a gentle soul with a big heart and your voice which always spoke words of kindness will truly be missed beyond measure! You truly represented Hawaii and we are truly grateful for all you have done for us. This is truly a sad day today! God bless your family during this difficult time. Thank you Senator Dan for being a part of history. Fly like angels. —Madeline Mendes

Thank You for being a "pathfinder" for all Asians in America. I will never forget you and all your sacrifices to prove our worthiness in America. —Leland K Sun

Dear Senator Inouye: I had the privilege of meeting you on a few occasions and you were always so kind and gracious, quietly brilliant, and profoundly humble. I referred to you as "Uncle Dan" and while you would have welcomed being addressed in such a manner, I was always too awestruck to address you in any way other than Senator Inouye. You were a prime example of "how to be" — a good Japanese, a great soldier, an exemplary public servant. From the bottom of my heart … Mahalo nui loa. —Stacey Shimabuku

Mahalo for your support of the US Army in Hawaii and most importantly your support of the Army's Ecosystem Management Program. Under this program, we are able to protect over 100 endangered species as well as many Hawaiian cultural sites, as well as sustain the military mission and garner community support. You helped us get this program started and sustained it through tough times. You were a great believer and practitioner in ‘malama aina' and you will truly be missed. —Alvin Char

For more condolence messages, or to post your own, go to www.staradvertiser.com/specialprojects/2012/inouye.

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