U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka delivered his farewell address on the floor of the United States Senate Wednesday.
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The following is a transcript of his speech:
Mr. President, before I begin, I would like to take a moment to wish my good friend, my colleague of 36 years, my brother, Dan Inouye, Hawaii's senior Senator, a speedy recovery and return to the Senate.
Mr. President, I rise today to say aloha to this institution. I have been honored to be a member of the United States Senate for 22 years. It has been an incredible journey that I never imagined.
As a senior in high school going to Kamehameha School for Boys, which was noted as a military school, my life was changed forever when I saw Japanese fighter planes attacking Pearl Harbor. Like most men in my generation, I joined the war effort. My path was forever altered.
When the war ended, I believe I was suffering from PTSD.
It was an act of Congress that allowed me, and the veterans of my generation, to build successful new lives.
Congress passed the G.I. Bill. And I say with certainty that I would not be standing here before you today without the opportunity the G.I. gave me, not only to get an education, but to have structure and a path forward, and the feeling that there was a way for me to help people.