Senator Daniel Inouye has passed away. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that politically Senator Inouye and I were on opposite sides of the fence. However, there are no sides when it comes to talking to the kind of person Inouye was.
He was a Medal of Honor recipient. His citation reads,
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.
Not only did he react heroically on the battlefield, but think of the other odds he faced. Japanese internment camps were imprisoning thousands of fellow Japanese Americans on the west coast. The commanding officers in Italy sent the all Japanese soldiers into some of the worst fighting conditions. Ironically, they are the most highly decorated division America has ever seen.
Senator Inouye with his good friend Senator Ted Stevens (who also passed away this year), saw to it that the National World War Two Museum would be recognized as a national treasure. It is the repository of all things World War Two, the epic fight for freedom and civilization in the 20th century. If you can find a way to donate $1000 to the museum, I have one advance copy of this book I will send you.
This holiday season, when you family gets together, remember to record an oral history of the elder statespeople in your family. God bless them, God bless them all. Because if they didn’t do what they did back then, we wouldn’t be sitting here today.
In his own words. Godspeed Senator.