Tributes to Hawaii’s senior senator — Daniel. K. Inouye — came from the White House and the U.S. Senate floor, and from the state he represented for more than 50 years in Congress:
U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka: "Dan fulfilled his dream of creating a better Hawaii. He gave us access to the resources and facilities of the mainland states took for granted. He leaves behind him a list of accomplishments unlikely to ever be paralleled. Tomorrow will be the first day since Hawaii became a state in 1959 that Dan Inouye will not be representing us in Congress. But every child born in Hawaii will learn of Dan Inouye, a man who changed our islands forever."
U.S. Senator-elect Mazie Hirono: "History will remember Dan Inouye as a decorated war hero – a Medal of Honor recipient – and monumental figure in Hawaii’s statehood. Throughout his life, he fought and sacrificed for the ideals of freedom and justice. 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. Represenative-elect Tulsi Gabbard: "Senator 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. He has and will continue to be an inspiration and mentor to me and countless others around the world."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: "Senator 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. Senator Inouye told his son that he fought ‘for the children.’ For children, there could be no finer role model than Senator Inouye."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: "He was a man who had every reason to call attention to himself but who never did. He was the kind of man, in short, that America has always been grateful to have, especially in our darkest hours, men who lead by example and who expect nothing in return."
President Barack Obama on Twitter: "Aloha, Danny."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: "No matter what barrier was in his way, Danny shattered it. … Danny was an icon in his native state of Hawaii and 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."
Gov. Neil Abercrombie: "This keiki o ka aina, this child of Hawaii, has left us with a legacy I suspect we will never see again…. When Dan Inouye spoke, by God you knew it was a member of the United States Senate. You knew it was one of the leaders. I don’t suppose that there’s any such thing as the voice of God but I have an idea that if God had to pick someone to speak for him it would have been Dan Inouye."
State Sen. President Shan Tsutsui: "Senator 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."
State House Speaker Calvin Say: "This is an extremely sad day for Hawaii. On behalf of the House of Representatives, words cannot express the profound impact Senator 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."
Republican state Sen. Sam Slom: "When my Father, a WWII combat veteran died and was buried in Punchbowl National Cemetery, Senator Inouye sent me a warm, personal note. He also sent me notes on my election to public office and we had the opportunity to discuss our different views at the State Capitol. He was always a gentleman and someone who will be sorely missed. Hawaii is very fortunate to have had his leadership. His legacy will continue for the ages."
Vice President Joe Biden: "As my mother would say, the greatest virtue of all is courage, and 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. … 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.’"
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta: "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."
Adm. Samuel J. Locklear, USPACOM Commander: "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."
Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, Army Pacific Commander: "The Army in the Pacific has much to be grateful of Senator Inouye who 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."
Former Sen. Robert Dole, who met Inouye while both recuperated from injuries during World War II: "With Sen. Inouye, what you saw is what you got and what you got was just a wonderful human being that served his country after the ill-treatment of the Japanese, lost an arm in the process. … He was the best bridge player on our floor. He did it all with one arm."
World War II veteran and former Sen. Robert Dole, who met Inouye in the hospital while recuperating from his injuries during World War II: "With Sen. Inouye, what you saw is what you got and what you got was just a wonderful human being that served his country after the ill-treatment of the Japanese, lost an arm in the process. … He was the best bridge player on our floor. He did it all with one arm."
Office of Hawaiian Affairs: "Pau ka ʻoe hana, pio ka ʻoe ahi, pala ka ʻoe ʻāhui. Your work is done, your fire is extinguished, your [banana] bunch has ripened. Senator Inouye will be remembered as a giant among men, a larger-than-life war hero whose greatest feats took place off of the battlefield, throughout a lifetime of public service. 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."
Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi: "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,"
Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa: "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."
Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho: "It’s hard to imagine Hawaii without our beloved Senator 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 Kaua’i 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."
Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle: "I send my sincere condolences to Senator Inouye’s family and hope to speak with his wife Irene about how to best respect the senator’s wishes and memory."
University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood: "His longstanding 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."
Hawaii Pacific University President Geoffrey Bannister: "He understood the critical importance of higher education to society, and that for Hawaii and its many challenges it played an even more valuable role."
American Samoa Gov. Togiola Tulafono: "The good senator was a champion for the people of Hawaii and he proudly adopted the people of American Samoa and the Pacific as his very own by embracing our concerns and offering assistance when we desperately needed it. He never took us as a people and government lightly, and that is why American Samoa held him in very high esteem and, with the highest honor, bestowed him the matai title — Fofoga o Samoa — the Voice of the People. … To us, we have not just lost a man. American Samoa has lost a father."
Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz: "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. We mourn his passing and offer our love and support to the Inouye `Ohana, his dedicated staff and to all those who have been touched by this great man. For all of his accomplishments, he never lost his sense of aloha or his love for Hawai`i."