Obama's Speech at the Funeral Service for Senator Daniel Ken Inouye (2012)
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Published on Dec 21, 2012
Daniel Ken "Dan" Inouye (September 7, 1924 -- December 17, 2012) was a Medal of Honor recipient and a United States Senator from Hawaii, a member of the Democratic Party, and the President pro tempore of the United States Senate from 2010 until his death in 2012, making him the highest-ranking Asian American politician in U.S. history. Inouye was the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations.
A senator since 1963, Inouye was the most senior U.S. senator at the time of his death. He was also the second-longest serving U.S. Senator in history after Robert Byrd. Inouye continuously represented Hawaii in the U.S. Congress since it achieved statehood in 1959 until the time of his death, serving as Hawaii's first U.S. Representative and later a senator. Inouye was the first Japanese American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and later the first in the U.S. Senate. Before then, he served in the Hawaii territorial house from 1954 to 1958 and the territorial senate from 1958 to 1959. He never lost an election in 58 years as an elected official. At the time of his death, Inouye was the second-oldest sitting U.S. senator, after Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey.
Because of his seniority, following Senator Byrd's death on June 28, 2010, Inouye became President pro tempore of the Senate; this made him third in the presidential line of succession after the Vice President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, announced Inouye's death on the floor of the Senate, referring to Inouye as "certainly one of the giants of the Senate." Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell referred to Inouye as one of the finest senators in United States history. President Barack Obama referred to him as a "true American hero."
On December 18, President Obama issued a proclamation honoring the Senator's distinguished service, ordering all flags to fly at half-staff "at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset on the day of his interment. I further direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations."
Inouye lay in state at the Capitol rotunda on December 20. A funeral service was held at the National Cathedral on December 21, 2012, after which his body was flown to Hawaii for a memorial service at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) in Honolulu on December 23.
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