Hawaii se­na­tor re­mem­bered as ‘an in­sti­tu­tion.’

Austin American-Statesman - - NEWS - By Kevin Freking

WASHINGTON — Sen. Daniel Inouye, the sec­ond-long­est-serv­ing se­na­tor in U.S. his­tory, was re­mem­bered Thurs­day as a man who gal­lantly de­fended his coun­try on the bat­tle­field and grace­fully sought to bet­ter it dur­ing the 50-plus years he rep­re­sented his beloved state of Hawaii.

Col­leagues and aides lined the Capi­tol ro­tunda five deep. The rare cer­e­mony demon­strated the re­spect and good will he gen­er­ated over the years. Only 31 peo­ple have lain in the Capi­tol ro­tunda; the last was former Pres­i­dent Ger­ald R. Ford nearly six years ago. The last se­na­tor who died in of­fice and was ac­corded the honor was Demo­crat Hu­bert Humphrey of Min­nesota, in 1978.

“Daniel Inouye was an in­sti­tu­tion, and he de­served to spend at least an­other day in this beau­ti­ful build­ing to which he ded­i­cated his life,” said Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Inouye’s closed cas­ket was draped with the Amer­i­can flag and placed atop the same catafalque that sup­ported the cof­fin of Abra­ham Lin­coln. His fam­ily and staff looked on as Reid, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den paid trib­ute to a man whom Bi­den said made him proud to be called a se­na­tor.

Inouye was Hawaii’s first con­gress­man. Be­fore he made his mark as a politi­cian, he did so as a war hero who lost his right arm while lead­ing his pla­toon into bat­tle on a ridge in Italy. He later was awarded the Medal of Honor, the na­tion’s high­est mil­i­tary honor.

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