Heartfelt reactions expressed on the passing of Sen. Inouye

Published On: Dec 17 2012 04:31:36 PM HST
Updated On: Dec 18 2012 12:04:43 PM HST

Hawaii's Governor Neil Abercrombie is among the countless lawmakers who have been touched and influenced by Senator Inouye.

HONOLULU -

As one of the most influential and long standing politicians in local and national history, the passing of Sen. Daniel K. Inouye Monday resulted in an out-pour of reaction across Hawaii and the nation.

Local and national politicians were quick to admire the service and sacrifice that Inouye graciously gave to his country.

President Barack Obama released the following statement concerning 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."

"As my mother would say, the greatest virtue of all is courage, and Danny was courage personified," said Vice President Joe Biden in a statement. "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."

Fellow Hawaii Senator Daniel Akaka who worked with Sen. Inouye for decades offered these words. "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."

Congresswoman and Senator elect Mazie Hirono, who recently enjoyed an endorsement from Sen. Inouye for her Senatorial campaign to replace Sen. Daniel Akaka offered these words. "I join the people of Hawaii in mourning the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye. This is a tremendous loss for Hawaii and our nation, and I am deeply saddened and shocked my longtime friend is no longer with us."
 
"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. It has been an honor and privilege to serve with him in Congress, and I will work to see that we continue to build on the strong foundation he has left Hawaii and the United States of America."
 
"My heart goes out to his wife Irene Hirano Inouye, his son Daniel Ken Inouye Jr., and the many family, friends, colleagues, and citizens who will miss him dearly. While we lost a great public servant and human being today, his memory is guaranteed to live on for generations to come."

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, who was selected as a replacement for Sen. Inouye in a letter to Gov. Abercrombie, said,"I am greatly saddened to hear of the passing of Hawaii's beloved Senator Daniel K. Inouye. It is a tremendous loss to our state. My thoughts are with his wife Irene, his son Kenny and his family, and all of Senator Inouye's staff, who he treated as his extended family."
 
"Senator Daniel K. Inouye dedicated his entire adult life to service to America and Hawaii. As a volunteer soldier fighting in Europe during World War II, as a Territorial legislator, and as a member of Congress, he never wavered in his commitment to placing the needs of the people he served before his own."
 
"His bravery in battle earned him the Medal of Honor. His focus on Hawaii's needs brought countless projects to fruition, including Hawaii's East West Center. His Congressional career earned him a national reputation through his service on the Watergate commission; chairing the special committee on the Iran-Contra investigation; and serving as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee as well as President Pro Tem of the Senate, which placed him third in line of succession to the presidency."
 
"But beyond his well-deserved professional accolades, I am proud to have called Dan Inouye a friend and a mentor. His professional generosity and personal kindness have meant the world to me. I attribute a great deal of the success I have enjoyed to his willingness to share with a smile, and to guide with a gentle word. I will miss him, and I join our state and our nation in mourning the loss of a great American and a wonderful man."

Congresswoman elect Tulsi Gabbard said, "I am deeply saddened at the passing of Senator Inouye.  He is a true American hero, sacrificing in battle and breaking the barriers of prejudice that existed during World War II.  After serving so admirably and bravely, Dan Inouye returned to Hawaii and began his distinguished career as an elected servant of the people."
 
"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.  I extend my deepest aloha to his family and all who were touched by his life and legacy."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) offered these words. "My dear friend, Senator 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. He was a soldier of incomparable bravery and a man of uncommon decency, and it is with deep sadness that I mark his passing.
 
"As a young man, Senator Inouye demonstrated the kind of bravery that challenges us all to rise to a higher standard. Although Senator Inouye and other Japanese-Americans were exempt from the draft, he volunteered to fight for our flag. He volunteered, even though the families of so-called Nisei soldiers were imprisoned in American internment camps. Senator Inouye was wounded in battle saving the lives of his fellow soldiers. For his acts of valor, he received the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor Congress can bestow.
 
"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.
 
"Today, my thoughts are with his family, including his wife Irene, son Ken, daughter-in-law Jessica, step-daughter Jennifer and granddaughter Maggie. Their loss is the nation's, as today we all lost a pioneer and a noble soul."

At a press conference to announce his budget, Governor Neil Abercrombie delivered a tearful response to learning of the passing of Sen. Inouye.

"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,"Gov. Abercrombie said.
 
"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 okay.'I'm sure we all believe he did okay.
 
"Our responsibility is to not just carry on but carry through on his total devotion and commitment to Hawaii and its values. Our thoughts, hearts and deepest aloha go out to his wife, Irene; son, Ken; and the entire Inouye family."

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle provided these words on Inouye's passing. "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. I will be in Washington, DC tomorrow and expect to comment further on Wednesday."

Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi interned for the Senator in 1992 and had this to say,
"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," Mayor Kenoi said. "I will never forget that lesson."

Hawaii State Senate President Shan Tsutsui added, "Today, we have lost a true American hero.  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.   We express our heartfelt condolences to the Inouye ohana and our thoughts and prayers are with them."

Even Republicans felt the sway of Sen. Inouye. "Today, we have lost a true American hero," said State Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom. "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.   We express our heartfelt condolences to the Inouye ohana and our thoughts and prayers are with them."

Sen. Inouye, a highly decorated WWII veteran and an advocate towards defense and veteran spending, had a tremendous following amongst the military community.

Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, expressed his condolences on Inouye's passing. "Today is a truly sad day for U.S. Pacific Command, the State of Hawaii, and all of us who have valued our relationship and time spent with Senator Inouye over the many years.  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.  We will all miss him."

Members of the American Civili Liberties Union contributed their condolences, highlighting Inouye's tireless efforts towards equality. "Sen. Inouye was a champion of civil rights and civil liberties. He was a decorated soldier, who embodied passionate patriotism in his defense of American values in the United States Senate."


"Some of his notable contributions to civil liberties include support for women's rights and equal pay, support for the preservation of the Voting Rights Act, and support for civil rights laws that included persons with disabilities."


"As the first Japanese-American in Congress and the first member of the U.S. House from Hawaii, he was a pioneer. He was also a trailblazer when it came to supporting LGBT equality. He was one of six Senators who in 1996 voted against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" a discriminatory policy that allowed gays and lesbians to be banned from military service merely because of their sexual orientation."


"He was a tireless foe of discrimination. The ACLU joined him in his successful legislative battle to get reparations for those Japanese Americans who were wrongfully interned in government compounds during World War II.  Sen. Inouye fought every iteration of proposed constitutional amendments to ban flag desecration - support that was particularly meaningful to the defense of free speech because of his military service. Sen. Inouye's presence in the United States Senate will be sorely missed."

Members of the University of Hawaii expressed their sentiments as well. ""This was an extraordinary man with a legacy which will never be surpassed. His lifelong devotion to the university of his home land is well known," said UH President MRC Greenwood in a statement.

"He was our most distinguished graduate and we are the grateful beneficiaries of the generosity he showed to us for decades. 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."

Dean of the John A. Burns School of Medicine on Oahu, a facility named after the Governor with whom Inouye worked with, expressed his admiration in a release. “Senator Inouye was a strong advocate for improving access to health care in our State, particularly in our rural and neighbor island locations," said Dean Jerris R. Hedges "He also helped our State provide opportunities for our young people to pursue careers in nursing, social work, public health, pharmacy and medicine. We will be forever grateful for his leadership and support.”

Members of the Hawaii State Judiciary sent these condolences. "On behalf of the Hawaii State Judiciary, I extend our deepest sympathy to Mrs. Inouye and the Senator's family," said Mark Recktenwald Chief Justice, Hawaii Supreme CourtSenator."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."

HGEA Executive Director Randy Perreira offered these words on the passing of U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye:
 
"It is with extreme sadness that we in Hawaii's Labor Movement mourn the passing of Senator Daniel K. Inouye. A true champion of working people, 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 our state; in so many ways he was as instrumental to our economy as any industry, and has assured us of long-term Federal support in so many different ways. Dan Inouye will be greatly missed."

Member of the U.S. District Court in Hawaii offered these words,"Speaking for the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii, Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway expresses sadness at the news that Senator Daniel K. Inouye has passed away.  She notes that, 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. The court extends its deepest sympathy to his wife Irene, to his son Ken and daugher-in-law Jessica, to his granddaughter Maggie, to his stepdaughter Jennifer Hirano, to other family members, and to his staff."

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