MOMENTS AFTER BOMBS began dropping on his hometown of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, seventeen-year-old pre-med student Daniel Inouye pedaled his bicycle to a first aid station. For five days beginning on December 7, 1941, Inouye worked around the clock treating military personnel and civilians wounded in the Japanese attack. Then he tried to enlist in the army and fight for his country in World War II, only his country refused to take him. Inouye was classified as an “Enemy Alien” because of his Japanese ancestry.
When the U.S. relaxed its restrictions in 1943, Inouye enlisted in the Army’s Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat team, which became the most decorated unit of World War II. He fought in France and Italy and lost his right arm in battle in 1945. Inouye received a Distinguished Service Cross, a Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart for his wartime service. In 1963 he became the first Japanese American Senator.