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Abercrombie says Inouye home in paradise

December 23, 2012
The Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - The late U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye is being praised as a humble leader who embodied honor, dignity and duty during a public visitation at Hawaii's state Capitol.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie told hundreds of people gathered Saturday night that Inouye went from being considered undesirable as a Japanese-American at the start of World War II to gaining the respect of the country's leaders in Washington.

"Rest easy, you are at home with us in paradise," Abercrombie said. Abercrombie's remarks toward the end of an hourlong ceremony marked the start of seven hours of public visitation.

Inouye's closed casket, covered with an American flag, was escorted in by seven pallbearers along a red carpet to the center of the Capitol courtyard.

After the ceremony, it was placed in a tent with the U.S. and Hawaii flags behind it, as people lined up outside to pay their respect, starting with Inouye's wife, Irene Hirano Inouye.

Inouye is just one of several Hawaii icons to lie in state at the Capitol in Honolulu. Sen. Hiram Fong was honored the same way in 2004, as was U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink in 2002 and singer Israel Kamakawiwoole in 1997.

"The senator was the quintessential man of his word," said state House Speaker Calvin Say, who said Inouye understood that trust is the strongest currency in politics.

The 88-year-old World War II hero and federal lawmaker of more than five decades died Monday.

Colleagues and aides lined the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol on Thursday to bid aloha to Inouye during a rare ceremony to demonstrate the respect he earned over decades.

He was eulogized by President Barack Obama, who arrived early Saturday in Honolulu for his annual Christmas family vacation.

Another service for Inouye is scheduled for today at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Obama plans to attend that ceremony, White House officials said Saturday.



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