As noted in last night’s A Little Night Music, Sen. Daniel K. Inouye of Hawai’i died yesterday. He was 88. He had served in the House and Senate since the time Hawai’i became a state, meaning that he was in Congress when Barack Obama was born in Oahu.
He was also a war hero, losing his right arm in World War II. As a Japanese-American, he had to overcome the prejudice that faced him and others of his heritage who wanted to fight in the war, but he joined up at the age of seventeen in spite of the fact that his relatives were being rounded up and placed in internment camps.
Sen. Inouye came to national attention during the Watergate hearings in 1973. His calm but intense questioning of witnesses garnered respect from both sides of the aisle, and he even got laughs when he responded to Sen. Sam Ervin’s mangling of his name.
At the time of his death, he was President Pro Tempore of the Senate, making him third in line of succession to the presidency. According to his staff, his last word was “Aloha.”
Rest in peace.