The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center is hosting a special forum on the life and legacy of the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (1924-2012) in the Rasmuson Theater at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian Saturday, Feb. 23, from 1:30 to 3 p.m.; doors will open at 1:30 with a performance by the Washington-based performers Aloha Boys, and the program will begin at 2 p.m. It is free and open to the public.
Inouye was a highly decorated American World War II combat veteran, an eight-term U.S. senator and the president pro tempore of the U.S. Senate from 2010 until his death in 2012. He was the most powerful Asian American politician in U.S. history.
“For Asian Pacific Americans, the annual Day of Remembrance marks the signing of Executive Order 9066, the action that led to the internment of Japanese Americans and immigrants during World War II,” said Konrad Ng, director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. “Sen. Inouye was shaped by this time. His journey from being called an ‘enemy alien’ to war hero to president pro tempore, as well as his lifelong service in the U.S. Senate is a great opportunity to understand the arc of the American experience over the past century.”
Forum participants include retired Army Gen. Antonio Taguba; Tuyet Duong, senior advisor at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; and Terry Shima, 442nd Regimental Combat Team veteran. They will discuss the life of Inouye and his legacy. The discussion will be moderated by Kathy Park, ABC 7 and News Channel 8 news anchor.
“The foundation takes time during each February’s presentation of a Day of Remembrance to commemorate the signing of Executive Order 9066, the instrument that denied Japanese Americans their constitutional freedoms and led to their incarceration throughout the United States during World War II,” said Dan Matthews, chairman of the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation and lead sponsor for the program. Additional support was provided by the Japanese American Citizens League, the Japanese American Veterans Association, and the University of Maryland College Park Asian American Studies Program.