Like many in Hawaii I grew up hearing about the legendary U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye, who was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives when Hawaii attained statehood in 1959. He passed away at age 88 on December 17, 2012, the 2nd longest serving U.S. Senator in American history, and President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate (third in line of U.S. Presidential succession).
Here are photos (front & back) of the President Pro Tempore commemorative coin he sent me last year:
18 members of my Sugiyama family attended his Big Island memorial service on December 27, 2012 at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo, Hawaii. Over a thousand people came through that afternoon to say a final “aloha” to this distinguished man. His 2nd wife Irene Hirano Inouye and his only child Kenny Inouye were present to receive condolences from constituents, politicians, veterans, seniors, Native Hawaiians, relatives — all people who knew him and knew his good work over 50 years in the U.S. Senate and three and a half years in the U.S. House of Representatives. Particularly moving was the singing of his favorite songs “Danny Boy” and “Kaimana Hila” sung by local Hilo musicians Mark Yamanaka and Friends. Junior Hawaii Senator Dan Akaka’s son Kahu Daniel “Kaniela” Akaka, Jr. performed the invocation & benediction.
Link to Hawaii Tribune Herald article on this service, with photos (click here).
Memorial services were held for the Senator at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C, Punchbowl National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu (where his first wife Maggie Awamura Inouye is buried), and on the neighbor islands of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui. U.S. President Barack Obama spoke at the Washington National Cathedral and attended the service at Punchbowl.
Inouye was also decorated for being a member of the famous & extremely courageous 442nd Regimental Combat team, which served honorably in Europe during WWII. He was a 2nd Lt. who lost his right arm in a battle in 1945 in Italy. That combat team was famous for their motto “Go fo’ broke”, which in Pidgin English means to use all your best to prevail, to “wager everything”.
He was like that, a man who exemplified excellence, competence, and dedication. As a young woman attorney I worked for him for 2 years on Capitol Hill at his Senate office, and we became friends thereafter. He was like an “Uncle” to me and our family. To read my previous tribute on the day he passed away (click here). We Hawaiians will miss him.
Mahalo nui loat (thank you very much) Senator for your decades of public service. You really did “go fo’ broke.”