Senator Reid reminisced about Inouye's best friend, Senator Ted
Stevens and how his and Inouye's bipartisan partnership demonstrated
that great accomplishments are possible when people set party politics
aside for the common good of the people.
Vice President Biden quoted his own mother's words: "You are defined
by your courage and redeemed by your loyalty." He observed that
Senator Inouye personified his mother's words and added that even
during the time of prejudice against the Japanese, no one was more
trusted and respected by his colleagues than the late Senator.
The music of the Cathedral Choir was awesome especially their
rendition of “America the Beautiful” while wonderful music from
Senator Inouye's own state of Hawaii was presented by The Aloha Boys:
Isaac Jesse Waipulani Ho'opi'i on the guitar, Irv Queja on the bass
guitar with Glen Hirabayashi on the ukulele.
As the service closed, I thought back to the day when Senator Inouye
set aside an hour of his busy office schedule just to visit with my
mother and talk about the good old days during her final visit to
Washington after my father died. I learned a lesson in that single act
of courtesy on his part. And over the years, Senator Inouye taught me
other things that I've incorporated into my life: He taught me about
enormous resolve, humility and respect for others, standing on the
principles that mattered to others. He lived each day and year to its
fullest and while there's sadness today, there's no regret.
He wielded enormous power but did so in an understated way that we all
could do well to observe and emulate. Goodbye my dear senator. Hawaii
had no greater son and American Samoa no better friend.
(This piece was previously printed in the Samoa News, Dec. 24, 2012.)