by Tina Mata'afa-Tufele, Editor-In-Chief
These are photos from the final service for Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, held Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012 at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Punchbowl Crater, called Puowaina by the Hawaiian people. The previous night at the Hawaii State Capitol, more than 5,000 people, residents and visitors of all ages, had paid their respects to the late senator before 10 p.m. Mourners continued to poured in through midnight. Sunday, people were in line as early as 3:30 a.m. at the Alapai Transit Center where the public received tickets and were screened by security before being shuttled up the hill to the cemetery at Punchbowl. According to staff with The Bus, the very first person in line was one of Inouye's war buddies, a veteran with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 100th Battallion. Security was heightened because U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Mrs. Michelle Obama were in attendance. Presidential honors were nixed by order of the White House. It was Sen. Inouye's day. Congressman Falemavaega Enu Hunkin, Gov. Togiola Tulafono, Mrs. Maryanne Tulafono attended the funeral service. Inouye was remembered as a humble man, small in stature but a giant in U.S. politics. He was a hero and a true inspiration. He was bid farewell with full military honors including a 19-gun cannon salute and a flyover by F-22 Raptor fighter jets in missing man formation. Inouye's Chief of Staff Jennifer Sabas said this in farewelling her beloved boss: "This our turn, Hawai'i, to step forward and to demonstrate that we have been paying attention and we have been listening to his lifetime lesson on leadership and humanity, because you know he is watching us right now. My friends, this is Dan Inouye's legacy. It is not simply all the stuff that he delivered for 50 years. It is also that fighting spirit, that risk-taking confidence, ever filled with hope, that he has infused in us all. So let us pick up the baton that he has laid at our feet, and carry forward in his name and for our beloved Hawai'i."
On behalf of the Samoan people of Hawai'i and the U.S., tautalatala.com says Tofa Soifua ma ia Manuia lava lau Malaga Fofoga O Samoa Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. (Stories from Inouye's service by tautalatala.com, will be posted in the coming days.)