Honolulu International Airport renamed to honor late U.S. senator
The state officially renamed Hawaii's busiest airport, Honolulu International Airport, as the Daniel K. Inouye Airport on Tuesday.
HONOLULU - He proudly served in World War II, in the infamous 442nd Regimental Combat "Go For Broke" unit. The decorated soldier from Mo'ili'ili lost his right arm during battle but surged on. He eventually became one of Hawaii's most well known public servants.
Senator Daniel K. Inouye served Hawaii in Congress for more than a century. He was 88 when he died from respiratory complications in 2012.
His endless commitment to the Aloha State now recognized at Hawaii's busiest airport officially re-named Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in his honor.
State and city officials who worked alongside Inouye spoke at Tuesday's dedication, including U.S. Representatives Tulsi Gabbard and Colleen Hanabusa.
Most agree the late Senator would feel uneasy about the honor.
"He was a man that didn't want the recognition, kinda humble, very old style, 'No, no, no give the credit to someone else.'" But I think that he'd also understand the importance to let the next generation know that the journey is not pau, there's always more to do to follow in his footsteps to make Hawaii an even better place," said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
Inouye's 7-year-old granddaughter Maggie was included in Tuesday's blessing portion of the ceremony, touching an enlarged photo of her grandfather with holy water. The late senator's son Ken and widow Irene officially untied the maile. Both told KITV they were moved by the re-naming.
"It does make me kind of wonder what would he say if he was here and if he was here, what would he say about any number of other things that are going on around here, around the country and the world," said Inouye.
"He flew in and out of here hundreds and hundreds of times over the years and the airport to him, reflected the connection of O'ahu to the neighbor Islands, to the mainland and to the Asia-Pacific as well as to the world," said Irene Hirano Inouye.
The State Department of Transportation said it cost about $1 million dollars to swap out all of the existing signs at the airport.
DOT said the airport's HNL code will remain.
The name change is just one of a handful of projects underway at the airport. A new retail and restaurant space will open soon at the overseas terminal, DOT said. Crews are also repaving roads and leaky roofs.