VIDEO: Maui Remembers Inouye
[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxTSEaDl0bM /] [flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AHQXYJeFRU /] By Wendy Osher
The late US Senator Daniel K. Inouye was remembered today in a service that featured reflective moments prepared by friends and dignitaries on Maui. The service was the last in a series of neighbor island memorials held to honor the life of the late statesman from Hawai’i.
During the Maui service, held at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater, musician Willie K performed a rendition of the ballad Danny Boy.
As master of ceremonies, Tony Takitani explained, the US Senator had performed the same tune on the piano during a dinner party. “He explained that when he (Inouye) was in rehab after the war, one of the things that he had to do was to play an instrument before he could leave,” said Takitani. Jokingly he recalled that the senator who had lost his right arm during the war said, “Well, the guitar is out.”
In reflecting on the moment, Takitani said, “He sat at that piano and played perhaps one of the most beautiful versions of Danny Boy with one hand… It was just the most incredible thing I have ever seen.”
Others at the service offered moments of reflection as well including words from Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, Speaker Emeritus Joe Souki, Councilmember Riki Hokama of Lanai, Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chair Colette Machado, and Chancellor Clyde Sakamoto with the University of Hawai’i Maui College.
Each recalled the many accomplishments and contributions that Sen. Inouye brought to the community of Maui County, as well as the special moments they shared with him.
“Maui will never forget Sen. Inouye,” said Lt. Gov. Tsutsui, “because he never forgot us.”
“Whenever he was on Maui, he would talk about his mom and how special she was to him, and how she was hanai-ed by a Hawaiian family in Puukolii. He made us feel like Maui was the most special island and the most important to him; but we all know in reality, that all the islands and all of its residents were equally important to him,” said Tsutsui.
“Senator Inouye once said: Yes, much has been accomplished but we’re not done yet… there is still much more to do,” said Tsutsui. “Senator Inouye can never be replaced by another, however, and perhaps, collectively we can all work together to honor his memory by following the example that he set for all of us.”
The memorial service also featured a performance of one of Sen. Inouye’s favorite songs, Kaimana Hila, performed by Ron Kualaau, and Miss Aloha Hula 2011 Tori Hulali Canha.
Senator Inouye was born in 1924, and graduated from William McKinley High School in 1942.
Sen. Inouye graduated from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in 1950, and from George Washington University Law School in 1952.
He served as a member of the Hawai’i Terriorial House of Representatives from 1954 to 1958; the Hawai’i Territorial Senate from 1958 to 1959; the US House of Representatives from 1959 to 1963, and the US Senate from 1963 to 2012. He also had the distinguished honor of being the President Pro Tempore of the US Senate from 2010 to 2012, and was the third in line for presidential succession.