SIU Mourns, Fondly Remembers Senator Inouye


February 2013


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The nation lost a dedicated leader, and the SIU a cherished friend, when U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) died from respiratory complications Dec. 17 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. He was 88.


In an online post the next day, the SIU said that even as it “joins with the multitude of other organizations and individuals who are mourning” the senator’s death, “at the same time, we look back with great affection, respect and appreciation for Senator Inouye’s decades of friendship. Next year (2013) will mark the SIU’s 75th anniversary. In all that time, we’ve had no greater ally than Senator Inouye.”


SIU President Michael Sacco stated, “Senator Inouye’s record of service to our country is worthy of an entire book, so there’s no way to do it justice in a few sentences. But I want everyone to know that the Senator was a true champion of the U.S. Merchant Marine. In the last 50 years, no one in Congress has been a greater, more influential friend to the maritime industry. His efforts were critical to every piece of maritime legislation enacted in that time. His support of the Jones Act, the Maritime Security Program, cargo preference and other vital maritime initiatives has been invaluable. He also was instrumental in the rebirth of the U.S.-flag cruise industry in Hawaii.”


The SIU president added, “I’m sure most people know that Senator Inouye is a true American hero – a World War II veteran who received the nation’s highest medal, the Medal of Honor, for his courage and leadership on the battlefield. Throughout his distinguished career in Congress, Senator Inouye has been no less passionate in promoting and defending the interests of working families. He is someone I will always respect and admire. He is someone I’m proud to have called a friend, and someone I’m so very grateful to have had on our side.”


Senator Inouye, who lost an arm because of injuries sustained in the war, was an honorary SIU member. Throughout the years, he received virtually every award the American maritime industry presents, including the prestigious Admiral of the Ocean Sea award.


He started serving the people of Hawaii in 1959 (the year the islands received statehood) as a member of Congress before being elected to the Senate in 1962. He was re-elected every six years thereafter, becoming the second-longest serving member in U.S. history. He most recently was elected in 2010.


AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka described Inouye as “the person every American aspires to be. His courage under fire, visionary leadership and love for his country and his constituents are an inspiration for everyone. He fought valiantly, broke down barriers and was a fierce advocate for what is right and good.”


Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said he worked closely with Inouye while serving as a member of Congress and in the Clinton and Obama administrations.


“His life of service to the people of Hawaii and to this nation embodied the essence of the American dream, and the heroism of the greatest generation,” Panetta said. “Daniel Inouye’s legacy will long endure in the better quality of life he helped bring to generations of military personnel and their families, to the people of Hawaii, and in the contribution he made to a stronger defense of the United States of America.”


Labor Secretary Hilda Solis described Inouye as “a fighter [who] exuded quiet leadership but wielded a powerful voice for working families in Hawaii…. He will be missed by so many of us.”


James Henry, chairman of the American Maritime Partnership (a key coalition whose members include the SIU), stated, “Senator Inouye will be remembered forever by a grateful maritime nation. The U.S. Senate and all Americans have lost an honorable man and genuine statesman.”



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