Maui News

Obama: “Inouye was Perhaps my Earliest Political Inspiration”

December 21, 2012, 9:44 AM HST
* Updated December 21, 12:41 PM
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US Senator Daniel Inouye. File photo.

By Wendy Osher

Mainland services have wrapped up for the late US Senator Daniel Inouye, who was remembered today at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC.

President Barack Obama was among those who delivered remarks in honor of the decorated statesman from Hawaii.

“The way that he commanded the respect of an entire nation–I think it hinted to me what might be possible in my own life.  I think it’s fair to say that Danny Inouye was perhaps my earliest political inspiration… then for me to have the privilege of serving with him,” said President Barack Obama.

“Those of us who have been privileged to live in Hawaii understand that Aloha means I love you; and as someone who has been privileged to live in Hawaii, I know that he embodied the very best of that spirit,” said President Obama.

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The service, also included Hawaiian music by the Aloha Boys, and remarks from other government dignitaries—among them, former president Bill Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, and Vice President Joe Biden.

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“With the exception of my father, there are few people I’ve ever looked at and said I wish… I wish I could be more like that man.  He’s a better man than I am,” said Vice President Biden.

Inouye was a World War II veteran, the second longest serving senator in history, and the third in line for presidential succession.  He died on Monday at the age of 88 after suffering respiratory complications.

He will return home to Hawaii on Saturday, with services set for Sunday at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

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Governor Neil Abercrombie announced details of the special ceremony at the State Capitol to honor US Senator Inouye.

The people of Hawaii are invited to pay their final respects on Saturday, Dec. 22, at which time Senator Inouye will lie in state from 5 p.m. to midnight in the State Capitol Rotunda. A short program will commence with the arrival of the senator’s casket.

Public viewing will begin after the program.  The family has requested no flowers. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Daniel K. Inouye Fund, care of the Hawaii Community Foundation. The fund was created at the request of the senator’s widow, Irene Hirano Inouye.

There will be a condolence book available for people to sign from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21, in the Governor’s Office.  Condolence books will also be available at the Lying in State service on Saturday.

State officials are preparing for what they anticipate to be a “very large crowd” and are encouraging motorists to carpool or use public transportation. There will be no public parking at the State Capitol, but the public can park at the following locations:

  • LOT G, 1151 Punchbowl Street (Kalanimoku Bldg), enter from Beretania or Punchbowl Streets
  • LOT L, 1250 Punchbowl Street (Kinau Hale), enter from Punchbowl Street, Makai-bound ONLY
  • LOT D, 465 S. King Street, enter from King or Punchbowl Street
  • City Civic Center, located at Alapai and Beretania Streets
  • City Joint Traffic Management Center, located at Beretania and Alapai Streets
  • Only handicap parking will be available at Lot F, 364 S. King Street (Iolani Palace). Motorists should enter from King Street, the driveway between Iolani Palace and the Hawaii State Library.
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