Lawmakers, Obama honor Inouye at Hawaii memorial service

President Obama on Sunday joined senior lawmakers and top military officials to pay tribute to longtime Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye (D) during the lawmaker's funeral in his home state. 

Hawaii Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)  and Pacific Command chief Adm. Samuel Locklear spoke during the service, which was held at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. 

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“He was a Hawaiian hero, a champion of this state,” Reid said of Inouye during his eulogy on Sunday. “It should come as no surprise that Danny died as he lived, with dignity,” the Democratic Senate leader added, according to reports. 

During his remarks, Locklear said Inouye, a decorated World War II veteran and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, was a "giant in every way" and that the nation had "lost an irreplaceable American." 

First lady Michelle Obama, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, head of U.S. Army Pacific, along with Inouye's family, also attended the service. 

Tester played taps at the conclusion of Sunday's ceremony.

Inouye, who had been hospitalized earlier this month at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after experiencing respiratory complications, passed away on Dec. 17. 

His death brought forth a week of tributes to the distinguished senator. At the time of his death, the nine-term senator and head of the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee was the second-longest-serving member in the chamber's history.  Only Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) served longer in the upper chamber, spending over 51 years in Congress. 

Inouye was honored by being the 31st person in history to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda on Thursday.

While Obama did not speak during the service, he called Inouye "an inspiration" to all Americans during the senator's memorial service in Washington last week. 

In his rise through the Senate, Inouye "demolished" racial stereotypes on Capitol Hill and became a powerful force for the people of Hawaii, Akaka said during Sunday's service. 

“Dan Inouye is Hawaii and Hawaii is Dan Inouye," Akaka said. 

Inouye was a high school senior when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, reports said. He volunteered for an all Japanese-American unit in the U.S. army, losing his right arm in combat in Italy and winning the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor.

Before Sunday's funeral, Reid urged Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) to fill Inouye’s seat "with due haste."

"It is critically important to ensure that the people of Hawaii are fully represented in the pivotal decisions the Senate will be making before the end of the year," Reid said in a statement.

Before he passed away, Inouye sent a letter to Abercrombie urging him to appoint Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) as his successor, a spokesman for the senator confirmed to The Hill. 

Other possible appointees include former Rep. Ed Case (D), and Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz (D), who lost his 2006 bid for Congress.