Daniel Inouye Dies; Senator Was 88

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U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, the second-longest-serving senator in U.S. history and winner of the Medal of Honor for combat heroics in World War II, has died.

He was 88. "His last words were, 'Aloha,'" his office said.

Daniel Inouye Photo

Inouye died at Walter Reed Medical Center, with his wife, Irene, and his son, Ken, at his side. Last rites were performed by Senate Chaplain Dr. Barry Black.

A senator since 1963, Inouye in 2009 became chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, continuing a long record of funding projects in his home state.

From 1998 to 2003, he steered an estimated $1.4 billion to military projects in Hawaii.

The son of Japanese immigrants, Inouye grew up in Honolulu, where he was teaching a first aid course at age 17 when Pearl Harbor was attacked.

He enlisted in the Army in 1943, when it dropped its ban on Japanese Americans.

Promoted to sergeant, he fought in Italy and France. On April 21, 1945, while leading an assault in Italy against the Germans, Inouye was shot in the stomach.

He nonetheless attacked and destroyed two machine gun nests before being more severely wounded, losing his right arm but earning high honors.

When asked this month, how he wanted to be remembered, Inouye said, "I represented the people of Hawaii and this nation honestly and to the best of my ability. I think I did OK."

He will be missed as a politician and a human being. In related news, Dina Manfredini, the world's oldest person died this week as well ... at 115.

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