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President Awards Medal of Freedom to the Late Sen. Daniel Inouye

Posted August 8, 2013, 12:54 PM HST Updated August 8, 2013, 04:43 PM HST
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The late Sen. Daniel Inouye is being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. File photo.

President Barack Obama has announced the awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the late Senator Daniel Inouye, who is among 16 people receiving the award.

Although Inouye was famous for his military service, having previously been given the Medal of Honor for actions taken amid enemy fire in Italy during World War 2, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nations highest civilian honor.

Inouye’s receipt of the award comes during the 50th Anniversary of the Executive Order by John F. Kennedy that established the Medal of Freedom as a way to honor civilian service.

Sen. Brian Schatz, who was appointed to replace Inouye in the senate after his passing, stated today, “There is no better way to recognize Hawaii’s lion in the Senate than with our nation’s highest civilian honor. This is an occasion of great pride for everyone in the 50th state and across our great country.”

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President Obama himself commented on the award, describing the medal as a symbol meant to honor “men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours.”

Among others receiving the award this year are former president Bill Clinton, talk show host Oprah Winfrey, and astronaut Sally Ride, who is also being awarded posthumously.

Inouye represented the state of Hawai`i in the Senate from 1962 till his death in 2012. At the time of his passing, he was the second-longest serving senator in US history.

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