How many reasons do we have to list to make the point that Senate Pro Tempore Daniel Inouye is awesome?
- During the attack on Pearl Harbor, Inouye volunteered in the hospitals and triage centers that treated survivors of the surprise bombing.
- The son of a Japanese immigrant, Inouye was subjected to racism and prejudice, but excelled in his studies. He was attending medical school when the Japanese-American enlistment ban was lifted. He promptly quit and joined the Army.
- He joined the 442 Regimental Combat Team, the most decorated American unit in the war. The soldiers were made up entirely of Japanese-American soldiers.
- He took part in the rescue of the Lost Battalion in Italy where his bravery earned him an officer’s field promotion. This was rare during the war, but even more so given that he was an enlisted soldier in a minority unit - which were almost exclusively run by white officers.
- In 1945, he was shot in the stomach while leading his men in the bitter fighting on the Italian Gothic Line. He refused to leave his men and continued to lead them in the attack. As he pulled the pin on a grenade, a German rifle grenade severed the arm holding Inouye’s own grenade. As the German - standing in a pillpox just feet away - tried to reload, Inouye yanked the grenade from his severed arm and destroyed the pillbox.
- Inouye continued the fight - without his right arm and gutshot - until he was shot again in the leg and passed out from loss of blood. His last words to his soldiers were “Nobody called off the war!” after waking up on the stretcher and seeing his platoon hovered around him.
- He would have to wait until the 1990s, but eventually Inouye received the Medal of Honor he deserved.
- After the war, Captain Inouye was unable to return to medical school because of the loss of his arm. He chose politics as a replacement career and is now the senior member of the United States Senate.
- Seen as a moderate, Inouye is a fierce defender of veterans rights, business growth in Hawaii, the economy, Taiwan, and comity and decorum in Congress. He outlived Republican Bob Dole, a friend he met while both were recuperating from WWII injuries in a hospital that would later be renamed in their honor.
Not the kind of guy you want to mess with. Just saying. Go For Broke, Senator!
August 5, 2012
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