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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Some of the people who knew Senator Inouye best were his fellow veterans, comrades who were part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team who shared a bond with the Senator, who was just one of the guys.
"Talking to us like we are old buddies," said Bill Thompson a fellow veteran of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. "We would be talking together, it is so easy to sit down and chat with him."
"We would want him to sit at the head table, but he said 'no, I am going to sit down with my buddies of company.'" said Thompson. "He was that kind of a guy."
Thompson said not only would the Senator sit and mingle with his veteran friends, he would also entertain his Army brothers.
"When Dan was recuperating, he lost his arm during the war," said Thompson. "So they taught him to play the piano with one hand."
Thompson said it was a treat to listen to him play.
"The thing about one hand, there were times he would play 'Danny Boy' on the piano for the boys," Thompson said.
One of Thompson's favorite memories of the Senator is behind a pen that he wished the club could have as a simple keepsake, but he said the Senator did much more than that.
"I wrote to the Senator, 'You know the President is going to sign the proclamation resolution; can you give us a pen that the president is going to use?'" Thompson shared. "He not only gave us the pen but he framed it, with a picture of the president and the documents. He was just again that kind of guy. He also came to present it to the club."
Thompson said the Senator also had quite the sense of humor.
"The Senator would often joke that one thing in his life that he never gained is the presidency of the 442nd Veteran's Club," said Thompson with a chuckle who was one of the presidents of the club in recent years. "That is one thing he said he missed and of course he couldn't become president because we are a non-political group."
Thompson hopes the legacy of the Senator's involvement with the 442nd family will always be remembered.
"I don't think there will be another person like Danny Inouye again in American history, but it is a history all of us can take pride in that the young generation can be inspired by," said Thompson.
Thompson wanted to remind everyone one way to do that is by joining in the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team scheduled for March 22, 23, and 24, 2013. Registration forms are available at www.442sd.org.