Their friendship is a storied one. One a Democrat. One a Republican.
Among the most devastated to hear of the death of Daniel Inouye—the 88 year old U.S. Senate President Pro-Tempore, World War II Medal of Honor recipient, Senator from Hawaii—was the former majority leader and Republican presidential nominee, Bob Dole.
Aged 89 and frail, Dole has been in need of physical assistance and moves around in a wheelchair. But the Kansas statesman refused to show frailty in the expressing of honor to his friend.
Upon arriving at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda—around 3:30 p.m. on December 20—where Inouye was only the 32nd person to be lain in state, Dole asked to be taken to an alcove near the entrance. There, he insisted on being helped out of his wheelchair.
Dole salutes one of his best friends. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
“I don’t want Danny to see me in a wheelchair.”
Ambling towards the catafalque with his wife on one arm, the Senator then pleaded to be helped up to the platform so he could touch the coffin. As he felt the flag, he was visibly shaken, wiping away tears.
The Second Lieutenant of the Army 10th Mountain Division stood at attention and saluted the now-fallen Army Captain, his best friend—with his left arm.
A Meeting of Giants
Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center. Photo: GSA.
The two Senators met in Michigan, in 1945, in an Army hospital that now bear their names. They both lost the use of their right arms during combat in Italy.
“When we left the hospital, we eventually became United States senators and he was always telling his friends that I talked him into it. I don’t recall it, but if Danny said it was true, that was good enough for me,” Dole said on December 17.
“He treated everyone fairly and never once do I recall his being critical of another colleague—Republican or Democrat. Senator Inouye was one of the Senate’s giants. He believed in civility and compromise when necessary, and was a good friend.”
Irene Inouye receives the Flag of the Union as President Barack Obama looks on. Photo: Office of Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
Inouye was buried in a Sunday morning service at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific on December 23. He was welcomed to the historic resting place with a 19-gun salute—reflecting his rank as a Senate president.
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