Tributes to a military hero turned Senate icon

WASHINGTON -- Condolences and tributes have been pouring in from Capitol Hill since Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away a few hours ago. Here is some of the reaction:

President Barack Obama: "Tonight, our country has lost a true American hero. The second-longest serving Senator in the history of the chamber, Danny represented the people of Hawaii in Congress from the moment they joined the Union. In Washington, he worked to strengthen our military, forge bipartisan consensus, and hold those of us in government accountable to the people we were elected to serve. But it was his incredible bravery during World War II – including one heroic effort that cost him his arm but earned him the Medal of Honor – that made Danny not just a colleague and a mentor, but someone revered by all of us lucky enough to know him. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Inouye family."

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta: "The men and women of the Department of Defense have lost one of their most dedicated advocates, and I have lost a dear friend, with the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye. His life of service to the people of Hawaii and to this nation embodied the essence of the American dream, and the heroism of the greatest generation. ... In the United States Senate, he was one of the most stalwart and effective advocates of the Department of Defense, and a relentless champion of our men and women in uniform and their families. I was honored to have the opportunity to work closely with him when I served as a member of Congress, and in the Clinton and Obama administrations. His legacy will long endure in the better quality of life he helped bring to generations of military personnel and their families, to the people of Hawaii, and in the contribution he made to a stronger defense of the United States America."

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chairwoman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee: "Danny Inouye was an American hero of the highest order. As a soldier he broke barriers with his heroism, as a proud Hawaiian he committed his life’s work to serving the people of his state, and as a legislator he earned the admiration of everyone he ever worked with on both sides of the aisle, including me. When the truly remarkable Senators of our time are discussed Senator Inouye’s name will always be right at the top. He gave everything he had for his country and for the state he served since being elected its very first Congressman."

Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee: “He was one of the last World War II veterans in Congress, and a leading veteran advocate for more than 50 years. His selfless service to our nation dates back well before his time on Capitol Hill, where in hard battle on the fields of Italy in 1945 his actions resulted in being bestowed the Medal of Honor. With his passing, we remember the bravery and dedication of the Greatest Generation, and with each day that sets, we mourn all who battled through this life to find reward in the next.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.: “I will miss his sonorous voice, his big heart, his self-effacing manner, his integrity and his patriotism ... We will never be able to replace this remarkable American, who personified the meaning of love of country.”

Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va.: “I deeply regret the passing of Senator Inouye, for whom I had enormous respect as a famed soldier, a principled public servant, and a United States Senator who broke new historical ground with his service. He was a leader whose dignity and judgment caused him to be listened to by politicians of both parties and of all political philosophies. He will be remembered as one of the great Senators of the post-World War Two era. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to serve alongside him.”

Vice President Joe Biden: "Danny was courage personified. From the battlefields of World War II where he received the Medal of Honor, to the floor of the United States Senate where he displayed incredible moral bravery, he was always the same – courageous and resolute. He was one of the most honorable men I ever met in my life, and one of the best friends you could hope for. He was honest, and fiercely loyal, and I trusted him absolutely. Everyone in the Senate not only admired Danny Inouye, but they trusted him ... And to his dying day, he fought for a new era of politics where all men and women are treated with equality."

Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee: "Daniel Inouye's career in the United States Senate was as distinguished as it was extensive. He helped steer this nation through triumphs and tragedies, victories and defeats. And he towered above us all with his incredible gallantry and heroism in the Second World War. His passing leaves a long shadow in Congress.”


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