I was definitely bummed to hear that Senator Inouye passed away on Monday. I had actually been reading quite a bit about Inouye recently, and his death came just a few days after I had mentioned him in a post after the Senate’s despicable rejection of the United Nations treaty on the rights of disabled people.
The word “hero” is frequently over-used, but not in the case of Daniel Inouye. The Senator was a true American hero, a legendary warrior in the most decorated American combat unit of World War II, and a man who selflessly dedicated his entire life to serving our country and the people of Hawaii. I can’t imagine that too many years will pass before Hawaii replaces one of its two statues in the National Statuary Hall with a likeness of Daniel Inouye.
I also found it to be fitting and beautiful that the last thing that Senator Inouye said before dying was “Aloha”.
One of the most popular areas of the United States Capitol is National Statuary Hall where each state of the nation has installed statues of some of their most prominent citizens.
The National Statuary Hall is in the original hall of the House of Representatives and the first statue was placed in the Statuary Hall in 1870. All 50 states had contributed at least one statue by 1971 and the collection was completed in 2005 with New Mexico’s second statue. There are technically 101 statues in the Statuary Hall collection as Congress approved 3 statues for Virginia. Only 38 statues are in the old House chamber; the collection is so large now that statues are stationed throughout the Capitol building.
There are currently seven Presidents represented in the National Statuary Hall collection: George Washington (Virginia), Thomas Jefferson (Virginia), Confederate President Jefferson Davis (Mississippi), Andrew Johnson (Tennessee), James Garfield (Ohio), Dwight Eisenhower (Kansas), and Ronald Reagan (California). Michigan is currently in the process of replacing its statue of Zachariah Chandler with Gerald Ford, which would be the eighth Presidential statue in the collection.
Besides the Presidents, there are also four Vice Presidents in the Statuary Hall collection: George Clinton (New York), John C. Calhoun (South Carolina), Hannibal Hamlin (Maine), and Confederate Vice President Alexander Hamilton Stephens (Georgia). If you’re looking for more recognition for the Vice Presidents, there are busts of every Vice President in the Senate wing of the U.S. Capitol. Each Vice President receives a bust following their term. Currently, there are busts for every VP up to Dan Quayle, whose bust was unveiled in 2003.