HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii residents will bid a final goodbye to the late Sen. Daniel Inouye on Sunday.
Services are scheduled at Honolulu's National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, a strikingly beautiful site located in an extinct volcano and serving as the final resting place to thousands of World War II veterans, including more than 400 members of the storied Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team, of which Inouye was a part. Inouye's first wife, Margaret, is also laid to rest at the site.
Inouye died last Monday of respiratory complications at the age of 88. He was the first Japanese-American elected to both houses of Congress and the second-longest serving senator in U.S. history, at 50 years. He was revered in Hawaii for his ability to bring federal aid and resources home, to help build up this still-young state.
The past week has been marked by tributes and honors for Inouye, with Senate colleagues from both parties, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton among those offering warm remembrances. Services for Inouye were held both in Washington and in Hawaii. He lay in state at both the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Thursday and the Hawaii state Capitol on Saturday.
A public memorial is planned for Friday on Kauai.
Up to 1,000 people were expected at Sunday's service, including Obama and members of Congress, with speeches by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Daniel Akaka planned. Akaka served alongside Inouye as a member of Hawaii's congressional delegation for 36 years, 22 of those in the Senate.
A military jet fly-over and a 19-gun cannon salute are also planned.
Nadine Siak, a public affairs specialist at the cemetery, said Sunday's service will be a memorial with plans for a private burial by the family later.
On Saturday night, Inouye was praised as a humble leader who embodied honor, dignity and duty during a public visitation at Hawaii's state Capitol.
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie told hundreds of people that Inouye went from being considered undesirable as a Japanese-American at the start of World War II to gaining the respect of the country's leaders in Washington.
"Rest easy, you are at home with us in paradise," Abercrombie said. His remarks toward the end of an hourlong ceremony marked the start of seven hours of public visitation.
Inouye's closed casket, covered with an American flag, was escorted in by seven pallbearers along a red carpet to the center of the Capitol courtyard.
After the ceremony, it was placed in a large tent with the U.S. and Hawaii flags behind it, as people lined up outside to pay their respect, starting with Inouye's wife, Irene Hirano Inouye.
Inouye is just one of several Hawaii icons to lie in state at the Capitol in Honolulu. Sen. Hiram Fong was honored the same way in 2004, as was U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink in 2002 and singer Israel Kamakawiwoole in 1997.
Inouye was a high school senior in Honolulu on Dec. 7, 1941, when he watched dozens of Japanese planes fly toward Pearl Harbor and other Oahu military bases to begin a bombing that changed the course of world events.
He volunteered for a special U.S. Army unit of Japanese-Americans — including several who attended the Saturday night ceremony. Inouye lost his right arm in a battle with Germans in Italy. That scratched his dream of becoming a surgeon. He went to law school and into politics instead.
He became known as an economic power in his home state as part of the Senate Appropriations Committee, where he steered federal money toward Hawaii to build roads, schools and housing.
Colleagues and aides lined the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol on Thursday to bid aloha to Inouye during a rare ceremony to demonstrate the respect he earned over decades.
He was eulogized by Obama, who arrived early Saturday in Honolulu for his annual Christmas family vacation. The president said during a service at Washington's National Cathedral on Friday that Inouye's presence during the Watergate hearings helped show him what could be possible in his own life.
Visitors began signing condolence books at the governor's office on Friday, with additional books available at the Saturday service.
Connect with Becky Bohrer at https://twitter.com/beckybohrerap
- Politics & Government
- Daniel Inouye