Exclusive: Senator Daniel Inouye Legacy at UH Manoa (pt.1)

Exclusive: Senator Daniel Inouye Legacy at UH Manoa (pt.1)
Published: Sep. 6, 2013 at 9:41 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 7, 2013 at 12:38 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Senator Daniel K. Inouye's legacy lives on through priceless photos, military memorabilia, and papers tucked away in his four Washington D.C. offices for decades, until his December death.

His widow, Irene Hirano Inouye told us, "I'm sure in all the boxes and memorabilia, we're going to find a lot of wonderful treasures."

According to his longtime Chief of Staff Jennifer Sabas, "We brought home a Matson container. We still have 1300 boxes of paper still in Washington that are headed here."

Sabas shared with Hawaii News Now Inouye's Captain Bars from the 442 and a rare photo. In her words, " This is one of the few photos of him before he lost his arm and it was one of the favorites as well." Both will go on display at a Center in his honor, in the works at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The Senator's Congressional papers are also coming home to UH Manoa in a partnership with the Library of Congress to archive this priceless piece of history.

"We're going to be accepting the Senator's papers in November. It's a treasure trove" said UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple. "We have the 4th floor of Hamilton for temporary storage."

Eventually they will be housed in a new building on campus. The University hopes to tear down rundown Henke Hall and put the Daniel K. Inouye Center for Democratic Leadership in its place.

Chancellor Apple explained why it's the perfect place to honor the late Senator, "It will make such a fitting cap to the end of the mall. It's right across from the East West Center as you may know, we probably have the world's most famous architect who got his start, his first major project was the East West Center."

Apple revealed exclusively to Hawaii News Now's Tannya Joaquin that legendary Architect IM Pei, who designed the East West Center with Senator Inouye in the 1950's will come full circle and design Senator Inouye's Leadership Center, across the Mall.

In a 50th anniversary video about the East West Center, Pei said it was a "novel idea" at the time, bridging East and West. He called it an opportunity for him to "go home, so to speak. I was happy to play a small role in that. Man, I enjoyed that."

Pei is world renowned for such famous creations as the glass pyramid in front of the Louvre. According to Chancellor Apple, "He normally would not take on a project this small, but because of his connection with the Senator, he was excited to put in a bid for the project."

As for the Center, Apple said, "size will depend on programmatics, but we don't want to go above 25 million for the entire cost." Or about 700-900 dollars per square foot.

When it's built, snapshots of U.S. history with Hawaii's Senator front and center will go on display.

Sabas shared historical items from his personal collection. "These are the Watergate photos which is where he really made a name for himself. Then this one here was as Chairman of the Iran Contra committee."

"The University sees this as a way to show living history to Hawaii keiki" said Tannya Joaquin to which Sabas responded, "I think so. I think the story of Dan Inouye is really the story of Hawaii."

Dr. Denise Konan, Dean of the College of Social Sciences at UH Manoa agreed, saying "The papers span the territorial days, all the way through Statehood and of course through the modern times."

For future generations to learn lessons from this humble hero. Konan added, "Freedom, fairness and integrity. These are themes he stood for. We want to be able to support leadership in Hawaii through his model and example, but it's a living legacy."

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