LIHUE — Daniel K. “Ken” Inouye Jr., son of the late U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, wanted the medals but did not think the effort was worthy of a trip to Washington, D.C., to bring them home.
“We could have had UPS with insurance ship them to us,” Inouye said Thursday afternoon at the Moikeha Building. “This was the last piece we were waiting for from his house in Washington. He had it hanging over his desk for as long as he lived there.”
Alden Adaoag, a close family friend, went to Washington to hand-carry the case of medals back to Hawaii.
He was joined by Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., Kauai Veterans Council Commandant Ed Kawamura, and veterans Stu Burley, Johnette Chun and Rhan Honjo in presenting Inouye with the medal case and a proclamation celebrating the late senator’s work.
“The senator’s legacy started in Pakala where his family lived,” Carvalho said. “It’s only appropriate we do this because Alden is also a Kauai boy.”
With a family history of service to his nation and a deep love of Hawaii, Inouye continues to dedicate his life of service, as did his father who, as a young man, fought in World War II as part of the 442nd Infantry Regiment, for which he received several military decorations, including the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor.
Sen. Daniel K. Inouye also served Hawaii as an elected official for 58 years in both the U.S. House and Senate.
“He loved Hawaii,” Inouye said of his father. “And he loved Kauai the most. It showed on his trips here, and even today, I have that same feeling.”
Carvalho in his proclamation said Inouye continues his father’s life of service, moving back to Hawaii and serving students in higher education by providing them with opportunities to learn about and engage in Hawaii’s legislative process through the University of Hawaii’s Hawaii State Legislative Internship Program.
Inouye serves as executive assistant to the chancellor at the University of Hawaii West Oahu.
“It is appropriate that we humbly celebrate the service of U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye as these distinguished medals of service are brought home to his family from Washington, D.C. by Alden Adaoag to his only son Ken and his ohana on this patriotic Fourth of July weekend,” Carvalho said.