Late Sen. Inouye Will Receive Nation’s Highest Civilian Honor

The late Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, was only the 31st individual to ever lay in state in the U.S. Capitol rotunda. Now, the World War II hero and former Senate Appropriations Committee chairman is about to join an even more prestigious list.

The White House on Thursday announced Inouye will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Inouye lost an arm in WWII, earning the Medal of Honor, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

“Daniel Inouye was a lifelong public servant. As a young man, he fought in World War II with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, for which he received the Medal of Honor,” the White House said in a statement. “He was later elected to the Hawaii Territorial House of Representatives, the United States House of Representatives, and the United States Senate. Sen. Inouye was the first Japanese American to serve in Congress, representing the people of Hawaii from the moment they joined the Union.”

Inouye was interviewed by Ken Burns for the World War II documentary “The War.” In the early 1940s, Washington had banned Americans of Japanese descent not already in the U.S. military from serving. When that changed in early 1943, Inouye told Burns he was eager to prove “that I was a good American.”

Later during his Senate tenure, Inouye was dual-hatted as the full Appropriations Committee chairman and the chairman of its Defense subcommittee.

John T. Bennett

John T. Bennett

Bennett is the Editor of Defense News' CongressWatch channel. He has a Masters degree in Global Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University.
John T. Bennett