May 1, 2007 Keynote by Sen. Daniel Inouye Headlines Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Events
Press Contact: Audrey Fischer, (202) 707-0022
Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), the third most senior member of the U.S. Senate, will deliver the keynote address for the Library’s 2007 celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage month at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 22, in the Mumford Room, located on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.
With a national theme of “Pursuing Excellence Through Leadership, Diversity and Unity,” the event is free and open to the public; tickets are not required.
The son of Japanese immigrants, Daniel Inouye was born and raised in Honolulu. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, he was only 17 years old, but he used his medical aid training as a local volunteer. A year later, he interrupted his premedical studies at the University of Hawaii to join the U.S. war effort. He enlisted in the U.S. Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat team, the famed “Go for Broke” regiment of soldiers of Japanese ancestry. After losing his right arm in battle in 1945, he spent 20 months in an Army hospital in Michigan. He was honorably discharged in 1947 with the rank of captain, returning home with a Distinguished Service Cross, a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart with cluster and 12 other medals and citations. His Distinguished Service Cross was upgraded to the Medal of Honor, which was presented to him by the President of the United States on June 21, 2000.
With help from the G.I. Bill, Inouye graduated from the University of Hawaii and George Washington University Law School. He began his career in local government, followed by service in both the Hawaii Territorial House of Representatives and Senate. He became the first congressman from the new state of Hawaii in 1959, and was re-elected to a full term in 1960. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1962, where he is serving his eighth consecutive term. During his distinguished congressional career, he has served as a member of the Watergate Committee, chairman of the Iran-Contra Committee and chairman of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. He has also championed the interests of Hawaii’s people in areas such as education, health care, employment and protection of the state’s natural resources.
The Library of Congress’s extensive holdings include millions of items pertaining to Asia and Asian Americans. A display featuring some of these items will be on view throughout May in the foyer of the James Madison Building. On May 1, the Library will launch an online resource page at www.loc.gov/topics/asianpacific to highlight its collections about Asian Americans and their contributions and accomplishments.
Also on May 1, the Library of Congress Veterans History Project in the American Folklife Center will add the narratives of eight Asian Pacific American veterans to its “Experiencing War” Web series at www.loc.gov/warstories. Their stories encompass World War II and the Korean, Vietnam and Iraq Wars, with special emphasis on the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
The Library is also sponsoring other events for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. These events include lectures, a dance performance and a martial arts demonstration.
At 2 p.m. on Monday, May 14, anchorwoman Eun Yang of NBC News Channel 4 will deliver a lecture in the West Dining Room, located on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building. At 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23, Harold Hongju Koh, Dean of Yale Law School, will deliver a lecture in the West Dining Room. At 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 31, a performance of Philippine and Burmese dance will be held, along with a martial arts lecture and demonstration by Master Jhoon Rhee, in the Mumford Room.