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Frank L.
Former Democrat NJ
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    Remembering Daniel K. Inouye

    by Former Senator Frank R. Lautenberg

    Posted on 2013-01-22

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    LAUTENBERG. Mr. President, I deeply miss my friend Danny Inouye.



    Danny Inouye's passing leaves a huge void in the Senate and for me personally, as I have lost a dear friend, and now being the sole U.S. Senator to have served in World War II is a lonesome post--especially after losing the presence of a Medal of Honor winner.

    Danny was not only a great Senator for his constituents, but also the most popular among his Senate colleagues. He exemplified what it means to serve and represented the very best qualities of our country. Whether in the Army or as Hawaii's representative in Washington since the State's birth, he worked tirelessly to do right by every Hawaiian and every American.

    Danny volunteered to serve in the Army's 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which was almost entirely made up of Nisei, or people of Japanese descent born in the United States. Although its members faced discrimination at home and many of their families were in internment camps, the 442nd is widely acknowledged as the most decorated infantry unit in the history of the U.S. Army. All of us who served admired the courage and heroism Danny displayed on the battlefield especially in San Terenzo, Italy when 4 days before the war's end, he lost his arm in battle, earning a Purple Heart.

    When Danny first joined the Senate in 1962, World War II veterans were common in our chamber and, over the past five decades, the Senators who served in World War II have shared a bond that overcame partisan politics. But I am now the last of that group and I will continue to look to Danny's example to bring colleagues together to do what is right for all Americans.

    Danny and I partnered together time and time again on the Appropriations Committee to write legislation that has made America safer and healthier for our families. I will always be especially thankful for his help in crafting relief bills for New Jersey in our times of need after Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. In fact, his last piece of legislation in the Senate was one to provide relief to those affected by Sandy.

    [[Page S39]] But perhaps Danny's defining quality was this--in a time and profession that increasingly rewards grandstanding and grasping for the spotlight, Danny served with intelligence, grace and humility. And while he was always a humble and quiet leader, when Danny spoke other Senators listened closely and took his words to heart. His voice never wavered when it came to advocating for an America that leaves no one behind.

    He was a giant in the Senate, and we will never forget the legacy he leaves behind. As the last World War II veteran in the Senate, I promise to always do whatever I can to uphold his commitment to service and love of country.

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