Washington saying goodbye to Inouye at memorial

  • Article by: KEVIN FREKING
  • Associated Press
  • December 21, 2012 - 2:20 AM

WASHINGTON - Admirers will bid farewell to Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye at a memorial service before a final trip home to his native Hawaii.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were to be among those offering tributes during the ceremony Friday at Washington National Cathedral, along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Biden also spoke at a ceremony Thursday at the Capitol, where Inouye was given an honored resting place: beneath the dome.

Inouye was only the 31st person to lie in state in the rotunda, the most recent being former President Gerald R. Ford nearly six years ago.

During the day, congressional staff, tourists and other Capitol Hill visitors filed past to pay their respects at Inouye's casket, draped with an American flag.

Inouye died Monday of respiratory complications. He was 88.

After becoming Hawaii's first congressman in 1959 following statehood, Inouye was elected to the Senate in 1962. He was the first Japanese-American elected to both houses of Congress and was serving his ninth Senate term at the time of his death.

He was awarded a Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military honor, for bravery during World War II, including a heroic effort that cost him his right arm. He later became one of the nation's most influential politicians, playing key roles in congressional investigations of the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals.

Inouye also was the second-longest serving senator in U.S. history.

As a legislator, his specialty was steering federal money back home to help build the kinds of roads, schools and housing that Americans on the mainland took for granted.

Inouye's body is to be returned to Hawaii on Saturday.

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