Almost immediately following the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rose on the Senate floor to remember the World War II veteran, Medal of Honor recipient and Hawaii’s senior senator.
Inouye passed away from respiratory complications at 5:01 p.m. EST Monday at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, according to a statement released by his office. He was 88 years old.
Following statehood in 1959, 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.
Inouye served as the powerful chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
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.
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.”
His last words were, “Aloha.”