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Congressional Colleagues React to Sen. Inouye’s Death

December 17, 2012, 2:28 PM HST · Updated December 17, 3:19 PM
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US Senator Daniel Inouye, courtesy photo.

By Wendy Osher

Condolences have been pouring in from congressional colleagues as they learned of the passing of US Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii today.

Senator Inouye served as Hawaii’s first congressman following statehood, and then ran for US Senate in 1962 where he served for nearly nine consecutive terms.

The following statements are among the condolences from friends and colleagues in Congress:

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US Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.):

“Danny Inouye was a patriot who set the standard for public service, both in war and in the United States Senate. In his quiet way, he commanded complete respect. He was a dear friend and I will miss him.”

Colorado US Senator Michael Bennet:

“I am saddened to learn that we lost a great leader in the United States Senate today. Senator Inouye was a war hero, who served the state of Hawaii and this country with great dignity and honor. We will miss his presence in the Senate. No one was more dedicated to Hawaii.”

US Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA):

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my dear friend and colleague, Senator Daniel Inouye. I will miss his sonorous voice, his big heart, his self-effacing manner, his integrity and his patriotism.

“Over the years, I worked closely on many issues with Senator Inouye, including creating the first-ever Comprehensive Combat Casualty Care Center in San Diego. Our most severely wounded military men and women would not have this state-of-the-art healing facility without his help.

“We will never be able to replace this remarkable American, who personified the meaning of love of country.”

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Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.):

“I was deeply saddened to learn that my friend and colleague, Senator Daniel Inouye, passed away earlier today. During this difficult time, my thoughts and prayers are with his family, including his wife Irene and son Ken, his friends, and the people of Hawaii, who he represented in Congress for over 50 years.

“We have lost a giant in the Senate. He was truly a gentleman in every respect. He was admired and beloved by all of us, Democrat and Republican alike. His friendship and partnership with the late Republican Senator Ted Stevens provided an example for all of us on how we could work together and get things done for our country. It has been said that leaders should be humble not haughty, that the role of a leader is to serve, not be served, and that we are to lead by our example. Danny Inouye was a lifelong leader from the theaters of Europe during World War II to the halls of the United States Senate – and we will miss him enormously.

“As we mourn him, we remember that he had a full life. He leaves behind an enormous legacy, and we are so blessed to have had him with us as long as we did. But it is still tough to say ‘Aloha’ this one last time.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV):

“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.”

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