In the wake of the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye, we heard or read a groundswell of memories about his persona, as well as his many contributions to the Japanese American community and to the country. The following remembrance of Senator Inouye was written by JAMsj volunteer, Sandra Komo Gauvreau, on December 17, 2012, the day of Senator Inouye’s passing. The power of role modeling is exemplified in Komo’s reflections. As busy adults, we often forget how impressionable our words and actions are to those who learn from us. Thank you, Komo, for sharing this heart-felt memoir.
A Remembrance of Senator Daniel Inouye
By Sandra Komo Gauvreau
You probably already know this … but I just found out that my senator (Daniel Inouye) passed away today.
I’m so sad. He was a hero that most kids in Hawaii, especially JA kids, grow up respecting and admiring. Not a year of my childhood went by without at least one kid presenting a report on his life. Inouye was a senator for almost 50 years. How many politicians can say that they were able to hold the faith of their constituency for so long? I remember his campaign bumper stickers from back when I was a teenager. They just said “Dan” and everyone knew which Dan it was. It didn’t matter if Akaka or any other Dan was running in that election — we knew that “Dan” could only be Daniel Inouye.
Dan Inouye was President pro tempore. This meant that if anything happened to the president, he would have been third in the line of succession (behind the Vice President and the House speaker). He recently commented on how things had changed since WWII. To imagine going from being thought of as an enemy alien to being constantly escorted by security agents because he was now third in line for the presidency — he was amazed.
With the recent election, I found myself thinking about and appreciating him often. We are so fortunate to have so many JA politicians who represent our people with so much integrity. I can’t help but think that our history has something to do with that. Daniel Inouye was a hero and he lived up to that throughout his long life. I never doubted any decision or action by my senator, because I knew with certainty that he was a man of integrity. He fought for and accomplished so much for us — the people of Hawaii, the Japanese American community and, in fact, we the entire nation. Everything he did was with our best interests at heart.
I’m so sad to know that he’s gone. I’m a little teary eyed … but I don’t know if it’s sadness or sheer appreciation. I have a lot of love for my senator.