Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Uncle DAN Inouye

They say his last word was " A L O H A"
Fitting for a man who, though ethnically Japanese, considered himself Hawaiian at heart. 

His mother had been  "hanai"  [adopted] in the old way
 by a Hawaiian family. Dan used to say that he was
the child of a Hawaiian.
He certainly was a Keiki O Ka `Aina - a child of this land.  

No one since the great King, Kamehameha himself,
has had such major effects on these islands and her people.  Most of us have never known a Hawaii, or a US Senate, without Dan's calm, respected wisdom to guide us.

Remember him presiding at the Watergate hearings?

11 Presidents worked with him.  Some might say that he was the last of a breed, but there WERE no others. He was a breed unto himself.

As 3rd in line to the Presidency of the USA, the next-to-last WWII Veteran serving in the Senate, and a Congressional Medal of Honor winner, he was quite a guy. 

When he came into town, the governor, all the political and social leaders melted into children beside him. His opinion was sought - and implemented - on every topic. His endorsement meant funding, careers, election to office,  new industries.  But he was VERY approachable. He talked to everyone, and he ate at Zippy's like we all do upon returning home.

He was also my neighbor (when in Honolulu).  
His security detail would wait downstairs for him in the morning. Sometimes I would chat with them.  I felt a loving,
neighborly responsibility to respect his privacy (and security) by never mentioning the fact that his building was right next to mine.  

Hawaii is a small place. Not as small as it was before, but we still feel close to people no matter how high they go.  Our President will be here [isle of his birth and upbringing] with his family, for Christmas, again, and we all feel like family members are coming home. 

Second Lieutenant Inouye
Dan was everybody's Uncle.  He was my Dad's generation. His fellow Japanese American Vets are still seen around town. (One lives in this building).

He had power, and he used it for America, the Pacific, Hawaii, and what is right & proper in the world.  
Just like he did in WWII:

Sen Inouye’s Medal of Honor citation

" While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper’s bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions."

Dan lost his right forearm in the battle, amputated shortly after the above events at an Army field hospital without anesthesia.

 “His determination to recover, and his extraordinary career that followed, continue to inspire wounded warriors today,” 
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said after his death.
Read more: HERE


Mahalo Nui Loa, Senator,
Dear Uncle.

You belong to history now.

[ Surprising words from an Israeli blogger friend



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Warmly, cloudia