The Daniel K. Inouye Institute honored U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington) on Nov. 17 for her longtime support of the American maritime industry. Dozens of maritime and Senate leaders – including SIU President Michael Sacco and Executive Vice President Augie Tellez – gathered on Capitol Hill to honor Murray as the first recipient of the Daniel K. Inouye Maritime Guardian award – a tribute given to someone “who embodies strong leadership and commitment to the U.S. maritime industry,” according to the institute.
The award was presented by Irene Hirano Inouye, widow of Sen. Inouye, to Murray, whose state is home to major ports, a vibrant American maritime industry, and a significant international shipping industry.
“We’d like to thank Sen. Murray for her vocal support and demonstrated commitment to the American maritime industry,” said Jennifer Sabas, director of the Daniel K. Inouye Institute. “Sen. Murray mirrors the legacy of Sen. Inouye for her commitment to the success, safety, innovation and progress of this industry.”
“Sen. Inouye was and always will be a shining example of what it means to be a strong leader for the U.S. maritime industry. His work has been immensely important to my home state of Washington,” said Sen. Murray. “I’m honored to receive this award in the name of a true American maritime advocate. As Sen. Inouye did during his tenure, I will continue to work with members of Congress to support legislation that sustains the strength of this vital industry while honoring the maritime initiatives Sen. Inouye worked tirelessly to uphold.”
“Dan was widely respected for his moral courage and his commitment to working in a bipartisan fashion,” said Irene Inouye. “It is with full confidence I can say Sen. Murray exemplifies that same commitment to the U.S. Merchant Marine and therefore it is with pride of my husband’s memory that she was selected for this award.”
Prior to his death, Sen. Inouye had a distinguished tenure of more than 49 years serving Hawaii in the U.S. Senate. As president pro tempore of the Senate from 2010-2012 – third in line of presidential succession – Sen. Inouye was the highest-ranking public official of Asian descent in United States history. For his heroic actions as a member of the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team – resulting in the loss of his right arm – the World War II veteran ultimately earned the nation’s highest award for military valor, the Medal of Honor.
A great friend of the Seafarers, Sen. Inouye expressed pride in his honorary SIU book.
“For those of you wondering, no, we didn’t make him pay dues,” Sacco said at the gathering. “But on a much more serious note, I had the privilege of working with Sen. Inouye for decades. Very simply, the U.S. Merchant Marine has never had a more dependable, more effective, more committed friend. He was a giant of a man – a man that comes along once in a lifetime.”