On Saturday, December 22nd, 2012, I had the opportunity to pay my respects to Senator Daniel Inouye as he lay in state at the Hawaii State Capitol rotunda. I didn’t go to the ceremony held at the beginning, but did walk past his casket, which was guarded by what appeared to be one HPD officer, one Sheriff, one Army serviceman, and one Air Force serviceman. The American flag was draped over his casket, and the four servicemen stood at each corner of the casket, facing inwards.
Many showed up to honor Senator Inouye’s memory, and the lines of people moved silently through the tent where his casket was on display. I signed one of the condolence / guest books, received a program from the service held earlier, and made a donation to the Senator Daniel K. Inouye Memorial Fund, care of the Hawaii Community Foundation. It was the Inouye family that established the fund, to “…help organizations and causes that the Senator supported over the years,” according to the website.
There was a service held at Punchbowl National Cemetery of the Pacific the following morning. I heard the jets fly overhead from my apartment, and watched the live broadcast on TV. Daniel Inouye was a one-of-a-kind person. I will miss seeing him in the news, and reading his tweets about what he’s ordering at Zippy’s, (which I thought was so awesome and down to earth). His presence was a reassuring one in politics, which was definitely felt by many residents here in Hawaii.
Mahalo to Senator Inouye for his life of service to America as a war hero, a public servant, and for standing up for civil rights issues, and doing what he felt was right, even when it wasn’t popular. His life and career are an example of what it means to live a life of service; and he served the people of Hawaii and America with dignity and grace, until his death. Mahalo and Aloha, Senator!