Daniel Inouye, the nation’s longest-serving senator, has died at the age of 88 from respiratory complications.
Inouye was a decorated WWII veteran, having enlisted right after the Pearl Harbor attacks, and saw combat in Europe. He was elected into Senate in 1962 as a Medal of Honor recipient and, as the first Japanese-American to hold a seat, he impressed those who knew him with his bipartisan attitude toward politics, which earned him respect from both sides of the political divide. Since the news of his death has spread to other Senate members, Inouye has received nothing but praise for his service to the country and the way he treated others.
“In Washington, he worked to strengthen our military, forge bipartisan consensus, and hold those of us in government accountable to the people we were elected to serve,” President Obama said. “But it was his incredible bravery during World War II – including one heroic effort that cost him his arm but earned him the Medal of Honor – that made Danny not just a colleague and a mentor, but someone revered by all of us lucky enough to know him.”
Inouye had been hospitalized since the beginning of the month with respiratory issues, but spoke recently about his time spent representing the state of Hawaii and how he would like people to remember him.
“I represented the people of Hawaii and this nation honestly and to the best of my ability. I think I did okay,” he said.
Inouye is being remembered today by friends and colleagues as a man of the people, who never lost an election over a span of 58 years.