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Inouye now the second longest serving senator

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye

MEDIA RELEASE

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye has been honored on the floor of the U.S. Senate after he passed former Sen. Strom Thurmond to become the second longest serving Senator in U.S. History.

Inouye eclipsed Thurmond’s longevity Friday, June 11.

Inouye has represented Hawaii in the Senate since 1963. Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), is the longest serving senator in U.S. history.

“I would like to thank the thousands of constituents who have demonstrated their faith and confidence in me. It is a privilege to serve you in Washington and I hope I have not failed you. This is a very special day for me and my family and friends who helped make it possible. When I took the oath of office in 1963, I pledged to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. I spend every day trying to live up to that oath,” Inouye said.

Several of Inouye’s colleague paid tribute to his career. Here are their remarks:

SEN. DANIEL K. AKAKA

Mr. President. I rise to congratulate our senior Senator, my good friend and longtime colleague, Senator Dan Inouye, on his impressive milestone.

On Friday, Senator Inouye became the second-longest-serving Senator — in the history of this storied institution.

Dan was sworn into the Senate in 1963 – just a few years after Hawaii became a state. At the time, he was the first and only Japanese American to step foot – in this room – as a member of this prestigious body. Today, he is the chairman of the Appropriations Committee. Dan Inouye did not just break barriers, he shattered them.

Of course, the Senate is only the most recent chapter in Dan Inouye’s lifetime of service to our country, which includes his Medal of Honor service in the Army during World War Two, and his service in the Hawaii Territorial Legislature and the United States House of Representatives.

Hawaii may be the youngest state in this great country, but as Senator Inouye’s milestone demonstrates, our contributions continue to shape the United States of America.

From President Barack Obama, who grew up not far from Senator Inouye’s childhood home on the island of Oahu, to each teacher, soldier, construction worker, and farmer, we are proud of the many accomplishments of Hawaii’s people. We are proud to be the 50th state, and we are proud of Senator Inouye’s long career serving our nation.

Aloha and congratulations Dan.

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID

There aren’t many lists on which Senator Inouye ranks second.

• He was Hawaii’s first congressman, and is its longest-serving Senator.
• He was the first Japanese-American to serve in the House and the first Japanese-American to serve in the Senate.
• He was the first Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
• He has cast more votes than any other Senator West of the Mississippi.
• And if you’ve ever heard the stories of his heroic service in World War II, you know there may be no braver American.

But there is one place where he comes in at number two – though it’s a remarkable accomplishment nonetheless. This past Friday, Senator Inouye became the second-longest-serving United States Senator in our nation’s history, surpassing Strom Thurmond.

Every day since Hawaii has been a state, Dan Inouye has proudly represented its citizens in the Congress.

Every day since January 3, 1963 – that’s nearly 47-and-a-half years – Hawaiians have been proud to call Dan Inouye their Senator. And every day I’ve had the privilege of knowing him, I’ve been proud to call Dan Inouye my friend.

SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL

Last October, the Senate had an opportunity to call attention to one of our colleagues who so rarely calls attention to himself when Senator Daniel Inouye became the third longest-serving senator in U.S. history. Today Senator Inouye reaches an even loftier milestone by becoming the second-longest serving senator in history. So we honor him today for this remarkable feat of longevity.

Senator Inouye’s dedication to the people of Hawaii is legendary, and so is his story. He was only 17 when he heard the sirens over Honolulu and saw the gray planes overhead. But he was old enough to know that life would never be the same.

Sure enough, a few years later, he’d be lying in a hospital bed at Percy Jones Army hospital recovering from wounds that he sustained in a grenade attack in the Mountains of Northern Italy. It was there that he first met his future colleague, Bob Dole, who evidently mentioned that after the war he planned to go to Congress.

Well, as it turned out, Senator Inouye beat him by a few years, and he’s survived him here in the Senate by many more. For his heroic actions in World War II, Senator Inouye received our nation’s most prestigious award for military valor, and he’s earned the admiration of all Americans.

Dan Inouye became a member of one of the most decorated U.S. military units in American history and one of its longest-serving, and finest, senators. So Senator, thank you for your service, and congratulations on another remarkable achievement.

Longest Serving Senators

These 25 individuals have served the longest U.S. Senate terms as of June 11, 2010.

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