'An example of aloha': Akaka reflects on his legacy, retirement and staying active

Updated: Oct. 16, 2017 at 5:14 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Surrounded by family and friends, former U.S. Dan Akaka last month celebrated his 93rd birthday at Chef Chai.

Despite his age — and his retirement — Akaka is still active.

He tries to work out every day to maintain stability and gives much credit to his wife, Millie.

"Aunty Millie has been such a great support in my life," Akaka said.

Together they have five children, 15 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren, with another one on the way.

"I want them to know and believe and use my life as an example of aloha," he said.

His family condo is filled with keepsakes from his 36 years in Congress, including a replica of his Congressional desk; a blanket with the names of senators who voted against the Iraq War with Akaka's name at the top, and photos with presidents, from Carter to Obama.

In his new memoir, "One Voice," Akaka writes he might be the only person to have occupied both bookends of World War II. He witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor from his dorm room at Kamehameha Schools.

"When we looked up we saw the sun ball on the wings. Oh they're Japanese," said Akaka.

In 1945, he was with the Army on Tinian Atoll when the Enola Gay took off with the atomic bomb targeted for Hiroshima.

"We started to bomb Japan from Tinian, Tinian because it had the long run ways.

Now, five years into retirement, his public schedule of events keeps him busy and he enjoys spending time with his ohana.

"Whenever we see them we always tell them we love you," said Akaka.

Akaka's memoir has a foreword written by his friend, former Vice President Al Gore.

His book is available online and at Barnes and Noble. To order and to see a list of book signing events, click here.

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