Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Senator Dan Inouye passes away; final word is "Aloha"

I was just looking at the ima magazine Twitter feed and learned the sad news that Senator Dan Inouye of Hawaii passed away yesterday. The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports that he died of a respiratory ailment.

Unlike most Japanese Americans in the United States, Senator Inouye was able to escape incarceration during WWII because he was living in Hawaii, where very few Japanese Americans were taken away. Instead, he enlisted and was assigned to the 442nd Regimental Combat Unit, comprised mostly of nisei from Hawaii and some nisei who left camps on the mainland. Their motto was "Go for broke," a pidgin English phrase meaning to bet it all and win or lose big. 

Per the White House, Senator Inouye was the "second-longest serving Senator in the history of the chamber." When I was growing up in the 80s, Senator Inouye was one of the few famous Japanese Americans I could look up. After Mark Takano takes office next year, there will be just five Japanese Americans in Congress. This is a great loss for Hawaii, and really a great loss for America.

Aloha, Dan.

"Go For Broke: 442nd Combat Team Song" music & lyrics written by Pfc. Harry Kamada

Jake Shimabukuro's beautiful tribute also titled "Go For Broke," 
"In honor of the Americans of Japanese ancestry (AJA) soldiers who fought and sacrificed their lives in World War II, Jake Shimabukuro released “Go For Broke,” a heartfelt tribute to the men of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 100th Infantry Battalion, the 1399th Engineering Construction Battalion, and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS)."

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