Daniel Inouye, A senator in the US Senate representing the state of Hawaii for the past 50 years, and the current longest serving Senator died a few days ago, and at his memorial, which President Obama, the Hawaiian born Commander in Chief attended on Sunday. There were some interesting insights from Senator Harry Reid, of Nevada who is the Senate Majority Leader.
“Both Senator Daniel Inouye and Senator Bob Dole (now retired but reaching 90 this year) were senior Senators of the US Senate.( with Dole running for President also.) They were both soldiers in the Second World War, fighting the Germans in Italy, Inouye being in the Japanese American brigade, they both lost the use of their right hands (both being right handed) at adjoining Hills within a week of each other. They convalesced together in the same hospital in Michigan for over 21months when recovering from their injuries."
Inouye’s hopes of becoming a Medical Surgeon were dashed due to his losing his right arm, and so went into politics!
I wanted to point this out to people today, to give them an idea of the stature of the some of the Senators in the United States. I seem to remember Senator Bob Kerrey from Nebraska a SEAL, also lost a lower leg in the Vietnam War, and of course who could forget Senator John MaCain from Arizona who was an abused prisoner of war in Vietnam for so many years. I wish to add that Senator John Kerry now in line to be the Secretary of State of the US was a Vietnam War veteran winning A silver star, a bronze star and three purple hearts!
These are all people who served their country in stints and not as professional soldiers all their lives, as the US had conscription and National Service requiring their service on behalf of their country.
To put this in perspective we have just one former forces person in our 225 member Parliament, Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera MP representing the UPFA in the Digamadulla District comes to mind. The latter was however a career soldier who retired and then became a politician.
We have more and more young men retiring from the forces after their minimum service period, who should consider going into politics, not like Sarath Fonseka who has been a soldier his whole working life, as they are disciplined people who will probably be able to bring some stature to Parliament which is lacking in professions and forces personnel who have had a life outside politics, and law.