|Senator Daniel Inouye (left) with the late Rep. Patsy Mink, |
former Rep. and now Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie and
Senator Daniel Akaka
Photo by W. L. Doromal ©1995
Senator Inouye was a WWII hero. When Pearl Harbor was bombed, he was 17 and enrolled in a pre-med program at the University of Hawaii. He wanted to enlist, but was prohibited from doing so because Japanese were classified as "enemy aliens." In 1943 when prohibitions were lifted, Inouye enlisted. He fought in Italy and France, losing his right arm in battle. He received numerous war medals, including the Medal of Honor.
Senator Inouye was a strong supporter of CNMI immigration reform. I had the honor of meeting him in 1995. He will be greatly missed in Washington and in Hawaii.
In April 2008 in a floor debate before the passage of S. 2739 Senator Inouye was quoted:
The CNMI immigration federalization is an issue “of special interest” to him.
He said the measure “seeks to correct profound problems in local immigration laws that have enabled the import of low paid, short termed indentured workers to be brought to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, CNMI.”
“Some were bought to work in garment factories. Others arrived in the CNMI, only to find that there was no job waiting for them, and were forced to find unpalatable means to work off their bondage debt,” he added.
The Senator leaves a long legacy of important legislation, including his work to ensure justice for Filipino veterans of WWII.
His staff said that his last word was "Aloha".
Statement by President Obama on the passing of Senator Inouye:
Tonight, our country has lost a true American hero with the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye.
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.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Inouye family.Statement from Senator Daniel Akaka:
It is very difficult for me to bid aloha to my good friend, colleague, and brother Dan Inouye. Senator Inouye was a true patriot and American hero in every sense. 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.
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.
I join all of the people of Hawaii in praying for his wife Irene, his son Ken and daughter-in-law Jessica, his step-daughter Jennifer, and his granddaughter Maggie, who brought him so much joy in this life and carries his legacy forward.
Dan, my dear friend and colleague. You will be missed in Washington as much as you will be missed in Hawaii. Rest in peace.Statement by CNMI Congressman Gregorio (Kilili) Sablan:
Senator Daniel K. Inouye was a great American and a great man of the Pacific. We will miss him sorely.
Senator Inouye lived his entire life working for justice and respect for all. Though he faced suspicion and prejudice as an American of Japanese ancestry, he gave himself fearlessly in defense of his nation during World War II. He bore the terrible wounds of that conflict, yet remained indefatigable physically and in spirit, a brave warrior for the powerless and forgotten.
I personally owe so much to Senator Inouye, for whom I worked as a fellow in 1986. That experience and the example of Senator Inouye left me resolved to represent the people of the Northern Mariana Islands should we ever be allowed a seat in Congress. I hold that seat today holding Senator Inouye as my mentor for determination in pursuit of what is just and for service to the people I represent.
We will never forget this good man and great American.