Senator Daniel Inouye, who passed away on Monday, was honored on Thursday when his casket was placed in the US Capital’s rotunda to lay in state.
Inouye was the second-longest serving senator in US history and was also remembered as a man who bravely defended his country on the battlefield before returning to his country and living a life of public service, reports The Clarion Ledger.
The Democratic senator from Hawaii spent more than 50 years representing his state. Colleagues and aides attended the ceremony to say farewell to a beloved colleague. The ceremony also demonstrated the respect and good will that he spread through the capital over his years there.
Only 11 senators have lain in state at the US Capital, three of which were presidents. In total, 31 people have lain in the Capital rotunda. The last of these was former president Gerald R. Ford almost six years ago. ABC Local notes that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recalled Inouye by saying:
“He was an institution unto himself, and he deserves to spend one more day in this institution, to which he dedicated his life’s work.”
Daniel Inouye served in WWII and was given a Medal of Honor for losing his right arm while leading his platoon into battle on a ridge in Italy. The war veteran later became Hawaii’s first congressman after it became a state in 1959 and was the first Japanese-American to be elected to both the House and the Senate. He made it a priority while in office to steer federal money to his home state so that it could develop roads, schools, and housing that other Americans already enjoyed on the mainland.
After a morning service an a ceremonial laying of wreaths, Daniel Inouye’s casket was open for viewing to the public. Inouye’s body will then be escorted to the Washington National Cathedral on Friday, before he returns to Hawaii on Saturday to be laid to rest.