Sen. Inouye, A War Hero Who Broke Barriers, Dies At 88
Inouye relayed the story last year on NPR's Tell Me More: "All of a sudden, the disc jockey stopped the music and started screaming: 'The Japanese are bombing Pearl Harbor,' " Inouye says he wanted to enlist — but couldn't, at first, because Japanese-Americans were classified as "enemy aliens."
"The thought that I was an enemy agent not just insulted and angered me, but, like many of my colleagues, young kids, we decided we'd do something about this," Inouye said. "We began to petition."
They petitioned the president to let them fight for their country. In 1943, he joined a Japanese-American unit sent to Europe and saw heavy combat. In Italy, he personally stormed three German machine gun nests, taking them out but losing his right arm in the process. Half a century later, Inouye and 22 other Asian-American World War II vets received the Medal of Honor for bravery in the battlefield.
"We had an extra burden because it was not only serving our nation in uniform but also proving and demonstrating a loyalty, which I'm glad to say my country has said we did," Inouye said...
In a statement, Inouye's Washington office said his last word was "aloha."
Rest in peace.