Today, I would like to share with you some of the ways in which President Obama and his Administration continue to address the diverse needs of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, including by honoring the life and legacy of Senator Daniel Inouye, the highest-ranking Asian American in the United States government.
To learn more about the White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House Initiative on AAPIs, visit http://whitehouse.gov/aapi and encourage your friends and colleagues to sign up for updates!
Gautam Raghavan Office of Public Engagement The White House firstname.lastname@example.org
President Obama and Administration Officials Mark the Passing of Senator Daniel Inouye
President Barack Obama speaks at the funeral service for Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Dec. 21, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Earlier today, President Obama delivered a eulogy at the memorial service for Senator Daniel Inouye, President pro tempore of the United States Senate, saying in part:
I think it’s fair to say that Danny Inouye was perhaps my earliest political inspiration. And then, for me to have the privilege of serving with him, to be elected to the United States Senate and arrive, and one of my first visits is to go to his office, and for him to greet me as a colleague, and treat me with the same respect that he treated everybody he met, and to sit me down and give me advice about how the Senate worked and then regale me with some stories about wartime and his recovery — stories full of humor, never bitterness, never boastfulness, just matter-of-fact — some of them I must admit a little off-color. I couldn’t probably repeat them in the cathedral. (Laughter.) There’s a side of Danny that — well.
Danny once told his son his service to this country had been for the children, or all the sons and daughters who deserved to grow up in a nation that never questioned their patriotism. This is my country, he said. Many of us have fought hard for the right to say that. And, obviously, Rick Shinseki described what it meant for Japanese Americans, but my point is, is that when he referred to our sons and daughters he wasn’t just talking about Japanese Americans. He was talking about all of us. He was talking about those who serve today who might have been excluded in the past. He’s talking about me.
And that’s who Danny was. For him, freedom and dignity were not abstractions. They were values that he had bled for, ideas he had sacrificed for, rights he understood as only someone can who has had them threatened, had them taken away.
In addition to the eulogy, the President also issued a statement on the Senator’s passing as well as a Presidential Proclamation directing that the flag of the United States be flown at half-staff at the White House and other public buildings and grounds until sunset on the day of Senator Inouye’s interment.
President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, attend the funeral service for Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Dec. 21, 2012. Senator Inouye’s family is at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
In addition, Vice President Biden issued a statement on the Senator’s passing, delivered remarks at the Arrival Ceremony for Senator Inouye at the United States Capitol, and today also delivered remarks at the memorial service.
Other senior Administration officials also released statements:
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
- Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
- Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar
- Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius
- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
- Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki
- Daphne Kwok, Chair, President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs
- Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn
Recently, President Obama issued a statement on the election of President-elect Park Geun-hye, who will become the first female president of the Republic of Korea:
I congratulate President-elect Park Geun-hye on her success in the election held on Wednesday. I look forward to working closely with the Park Administration to further enhance our extensive cooperation with the Republic of Korea on a wide range of important bilateral, regional and global issues. The U.S.-ROK alliance serves as a linchpin of peace and security in the Asia Pacific and our two nations share a global partnership with deep economic, security, and people-to-people ties. I also wish to reiterate my admiration for all that President Lee has done to strengthen U.S.-ROK relations and promote a Global Korea.
On Friday, the President also called the President-elect – click here for a readout of that call.
President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, delivers a statement and takes questions about the Administration’s gun policy process in the wake of the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Dec. 19, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
- Dec 21: A Message from President Obama about Your Petition on Reducing Gun Violence
- Dec 20: The House Republicans’ Spending Reduction Act of 2012 Will Hurt Middle Class Families
- Dec 19: President Obama: “Words Need to Lead to Action” on Gun Violence
- Dec 10: A Lesson in Pacific Islander Collaboration