Inouye praised as humble leader at Hawaii Capitol

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 22, 2012 at 11:44 pm •  Published: December 22, 2012
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HONOLULU (AP) — The late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye is being praised as a humble leader who embodied honor, dignity and duty during a public visitation at Hawaii's state Capitol.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie told hundreds of people gathered Saturday night that Inouye went from being considered undesirable as a Japanese-American at the start of World War II to gaining the respect of the country's leaders in Washington.

"Rest easy, you are at home with us in paradise," Abercrombie said. Abercrombie's remarks toward the end of an hourlong ceremony marked the start of seven hours of public visitation.

Inouye's closed casket, covered with an American flag, was escorted in by seven pallbearers along a red carpet to the center of the Capitol courtyard.

After the ceremony, it was placed in a large tent with the U.S. and Hawaii flags behind it, as people lined up outside to pay their respect, starting with Inouye's wife, Irene Hirano Inouye.

Inouye is just one of several Hawaii icons to lie in state at the Capitol in Honolulu. Sen. Hiram Fong was honored the same way in 2004, as was U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink in 2002 and singer Israel Kamakawiwoole in 1997.

"The Senator was the quintessential man of his word," said state House Speaker Calvin Say, who said Inouye understood that trust is the strongest currency in politics.

Say said Inouye let his work do the talking for him.

The 88-year-old World War II hero and federal lawmaker of more than five decades died Monday.

Inouye was a high school senior in Honolulu on Dec. 7, 1941, when he watched dozens of Japanese planes fly toward Pearl Harbor and other Oahu military bases to begin a bombing that changed the course of world events.

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