Daniel // 井上 建 Ken Inouye, 2LT, President pro tempore (1924 - 2012) MP

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Nicknames: "Dan", "Daniel Ken Inouye", "井上 建"
Birthplace: HI, USA
Death: Died in Bethesda, Maryland, USA
Occupation: President pro tempore
Managed by: Ashley Odell
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

    • Irene
      wife

About Daniel // 井上 建 Ken Inouye, 2LT, President pro tempore

Daniel Ken "Dan" Inouye (pronounced /ɨˈnoʊweɪ/, Japanese: 井上 建, Inoue Ken; September 7, 1924 – December 17, 2012) was the senior United States Senator from Hawaii, a member of the Democratic Party, and the President pro tempore of the United States Senate making him the highest-ranking Asian American politician in American history. Inouye was the chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations.


Inouye had been a senator since 1963, the most senior senator. He is 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, 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. At age 86, Inouye is the second-oldest current senator, after 87 year old Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey. He is also a recipient of the United States Medal of Honor.


If he serves until June 29, 2014, he will become the longest serving Senator in history. Inouye has already announced that he plans to run for a record tenth term in 2016, when he will be 92 years old.

Medal of Honor citation


President Clinton presented the Medal of Honor to Senator Inouye

Citation:


Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force.

Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement.

Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper’s bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions.

In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge. Second Lieutenant Inouye’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

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INOUYE'S ORCHIDS FOR ISRAEL By MARTIN TOLCHIN New York Times: March 4, 1985

WASHINGTON, March 3— A bronze menorah rests atop the Senator's oversized rolltop desk and a similar, silver candelabrum adorns another wall. A ram's horn used in New Year services is displayed nearby, next to a painting of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

Such traditional symbols of Judaism are often found in the offices of senators from urban states. But they are less expected in the office of a Senator from a state like Hawaii. Yes, Hawaii.

There are maybe 500 Jewish families in Hawaii, one synagogue, in Honolulu, said Senator Daniel K. Inouye, a Japanese-American who grew up in a Methodist family but is nevertheless one of Israel's staunchest supporters in the Senate.

Mr. Inouye's interest in Judaism has included studies with a rabbi and consideration of religious conversion. It began, as he remembers, in World War II when he was deeply moved by both the Holocaust in Europe and the internment of Japanese-Americans in the United States. He lost his right arm in the war while fighting in Europe with the all Japanese-American 442d Regiment.

He says he supports Israel because I am convinced that it is in our best, national interest to make sure that a strong, viable Israel continues to exert its influence in that part of the world. The Israelis are the only reliable ally we have in that part of the world, he asserted.

The Senator says he arrived at his views on Judaism and Israel in an unemotional manner.

In Hawaii, at the time of my childhood, I think you would have exaggerated if you said there were 50 Jewish families, he recalled. The first time I heard about Jews was in Sunday school, when the teacher said the Jews killed Christ.

His interest in Judaism was especially stirred in World War II while he was recuperating from his amputation in an Army hospital. A roommate told of having helped liberate a concentration camp. He told me what he saw, the Senator recalled, bodies piled up like cordwood, hollow eyes, an unbelievable stench.

At George Washington Law School in Washington after the war, Mr. Inouye came under the influence of two friends, both Jews. The father of one was the chairman of the Israel bond drive, and Mr. Inouye became a bond salesman. In those days, when a country was born it was a big event, he said.

Mr. Inouye then immersed himself in Jewish studies under the guidance of a rabbi and considered converting to Judaism. I was very serious in my studies, he recalled, but I knew it would be a heartbreaker for my mother, who was adopted by Methodist missionaries.

According to the Senator, the United States has got more than its money's worth from its support of Israel, if only from Israeli intelligence. When they told us how to knock out the SAM sites in Lebanon, it saved us billions, he argued.

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Daniel // 井上 建 Ken Inouye, 2LT, President pro tempore's Timeline

1924
September 7, 1924
HI, USA
2012
December 17, 2012
Age 88
Bethesda, Maryland, USA
December 17, 2012
Age 88
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