Senator Daniel Inouye
, Democrat and senior senator from Hawaii
, has died
at the age of 88 from respiratory problems.
Inouye was born in Honolulu, the son and grandson of Japanese immigrants. He served as a medical volunteer during the attack on Pearl Harbor
. Later, when the U.S. Army began to allow Japanese-Americans to serve, he joined the fabled 442nd Regimental Combat Team (previously
). In 1945, Inouye was grievously wounded
while leading an assault
on the Gothic Line. For his actions
, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, which was later upgraded to the Medal of Honor
by President Clinton.
After the war, Inouye returned to college at the University of Hawaii. He later earned a law degree from George Washington University and shortly thereafter was elected to the Hawaii Territorial Legislature (PDF)
. He was then elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on August 21, 1959, the same date Hawaii officially entered the union
. He was elected to the Senate in 1962, and at the time of his death was the longest-serving U.S. senator (also making him president pro tempore).
Inouye delivered the keynote address
at the turbulent 1968 Democratic National Convention. He later went on to serve on the Senate Watergate Committee, where H.R. Haldeman's lawyer John Wilson called him "that little Jap"
during a recess. He also chaired another investigative committee
His wife of 58 years, Maggie, died in 2006
. He is survived by his second wife, Irene, and his son, Ken. According to his staff, his last words were, "Aloha."