Sen. Daniel K. Inouye dead at age 88

Published On: Dec 17 2012 12:40:00 PM HST
Updated On: Dec 17 2012 04:40:00 PM HST

Hawaii mourns the death of longtime senator Daniel Inouye.

WASHINGTON D.C. -

Hawaii Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D) passed away Monday at 5:01 p.m Eastern time,  12:01 p.m. HST, Monday from respiratory complications.

The Medal of Honor-winning WWII veteran who served as a House Representative before becoming Hawaii's senator for 50 years, was hospitalized last week and had undergone procedures to regulate his oxygen intake.

Officials from the Senator's office confirmed that his wife Irene and son Ken were by his side when he passed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland.

Senator Inouye, Hawaii's senior most senator and the third in line for the presidency, won his ninth consecutive term in 2010 and was the second longest-serving senator in the chamber's history, trailing only Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

His last words were, "Aloha."

Following the news of his passing, the Senator's staff released this obituary chronicling the vast accomplishments of one of the longest serving senators in U.S. history:

"The story of Dan Inouye is the story of modern Hawaii.  During his eight decades of public service, Dan Inouye helped build and shape Hawaii.

Senator Inouye began his career in public service at the age of 17 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army shortly after Imperial Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  He served with 'E' company of the 442 Regimental Combat Team, a group consisting entirely of Americans of Japanese ancestry.  Senator Inouye lost his arm charging a series of machine gun nests on a hill in San Terenzo, Italy on April 21, 1945.  His actions during that battle earned him the Medal of Honor.

Following the war he returned to Hawaii and married Margaret "Maggie" Awamura, and graduated from the University of Hawaii and the George Washington University School of Law.

After receiving his law degree, Dan Inouye, returned to Hawaii and worked as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu.  He recognized the social and racial inequities of post-war Hawaii, and in 1954 was part of a Democratic revolution that took control of the Territorial Legislature.

Following statehood in 1959, Dan Inouye was privileged to serve as Hawaii's first Congressman. He ran for the Senate in 1962 where he served for nearly nine consecutive terms.

Dan Inouye spent his career building an enduring federal presence in Hawaii to ensure that the state would receive its fair share of federal resources. He worked to expand the military's presence on all major islands, stabilizing Pearl Harbor, building up the Pacific Missile Range and constructing a headquarters for the United States Pacific Command.

He has worked to build critical roads, expanded bus services statewide and secured the federal funds for the Honolulu Rail Transit project.  He championed the indigenous rights of Native Hawaiians and the return of Kahoolawe.

He fought for the rights and benefits for veterans.  Senator Inouye has left an indelible mark at the University of Hawaii, including support for major facilities and research assets.  He has long supported local agriculture and alternative energy initiatives.  

Dan Inouye was always among the first to speak out against injustice whether interned Japanese Americans, Filipino World War II veterans, Native Americans and Native Hawaiians.

A prominent player on the national stage, Senator Inouye served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, the Senate Commerce Committee and was the first Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

After developing a reputation as a bipartisan workhorse,  who always would put country above party, he was asked by the Senate leadership to chair the special committee investigating the Iran Contra Affair.  This was  after a successful tenure as a member of the Watergate Committee.

When asked in recent days how he wanted to be remembered, Dan said, very simply, "I represented the people of Hawaii and this nation honestly and to the best of my ability. I think I did OK."

We'll have much more on the lasting impact that Sen. Inouye left on the state and the country on KITV 4 News at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

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