Capitol Hill tribute for Hawaii Sen. Inouye

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WASHINGTON -- Sen. Daniel Inouye, the second-longest serving senator in U.S. history, was remembered Thursday as a man who gallantly defended his country on the battlefield and gracefully sought to better it during the 50-plus years he represented his beloved state of Hawaii.

Colleagues and aides lined the Capitol rotunda five deep to say farewell. The ceremony demonstrated the respect and good will he generated over the years. Only 31 people have lain in the Capitol rotunda; the last was former President Gerald R. Ford nearly six years ago.

"Daniel Inouye was an institution, and he deserved to spend at least another day in this beautiful building to which he dedicated his life," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Inouye was Hawaii's first congressman. In his early days in Washington, Inouye's modesty would never have allowed him to think he would walk the halls of the Capitol for the next five decades, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said.

Inouye died Monday from respiratory complications. The soft-spoken but powerful Democratic chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee was 88.

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Before Inouye made his mark as a politician, he did so as a war hero who lost his right arm while leading his platoon into battle on a ridge in Italy. He later was awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military honor.

Inouye's body will be escorted today to Washington National Cathedral for a funeral service, where President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are among those scheduled to speak.

-- AP

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