President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama began their Hawaiian Christmas vacation by attending the funeral of the late Senator Daniel Inouye at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific December 23, 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Inouye was a United States Senator, representing the state of Hawaii, since 1963 and a Medal of Honor recipient. At his final resting place, he joins thousands of World War II veterans, in particular more than 400 members of the Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which Inouye was a part of.
When Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941, Inouye was a high school senior and watched dozens of Japanese aircraft fly towards the harbor and other Oahu military bases to begin the bombing that forced the United States to join the war in Europe.
Inouye had volunteered for a special U.S. Army Japanese-American unit and lost his right arm during a battle against Germans in Italy.
At the time, Inouye’s dream was to be a surgeon but the loss of his arm forced him to change his plans and become a lawyer and later a politician. The rest as they say is history!
The revered 88-year-old Hawaiian senator who had died from respiratory complications on December 17, was honored with a 19-gun cannon salute. The funerary service also featured a flyover by F-22 military jets and a rendition of Taps by Democratic Senator Jon Tester of Montana.
Senator Inouye’s wife Irene Hirano was presented with a folded American flag and she and her son Ken Inouye sat with the Obamas during the funeral services.
For the funeral, Michelle Obama FLOTUS, the First Lady of the United States, wore a black and white graphic floral print knee-length dress with a scooped neck, belted at the waist with a studded black belt and topped off with a three-quarter sleeve cropped cardigan. Hair neatly amassed into a ponytail, she accessorized with delicate stud earrings and black flats on her feet.
President Barack Obama looked dapper in a dark suit, crisp white shirt and royal blue tie. A tiny pin of the U.S. flag was also worn on his left lapel.
The Obamas only just arrived via Air Force One in Honolulu, Hawaii on the December 22, to begin their Hawaiian Christmas vacation with their daughters Malia and Sasha, landing at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. But the weather must be perfect – the Obamas were all in tropical weight clothing since they arrived!
Condolences to the family of the late Senator Daniel Inouye. Scenes from the funeral are available in my slideshow.