Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Daniel Inouye Interview
Narrator: Sen. Daniel Inouye
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary), Beverly Kashino (secondary)
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: June 30, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-idaniel-01-0008

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TI: Well, and then shortly after that, after you got in, the inductees assembled at Schofield, and they took a train part way to the pier, but then you had to march about a mile to get to the pier. Can you tell us about that?

DI: The train ended at the Oahu railway station, which is in Iwilei, and from that point we walked until Pier 7. The Lurline, the great passenger vessel, was painted gray and converted into a troop ship. We, all of us, carried huge duffel bags. We were not soldiers at that point, no training. Our uniforms didn't fit and we carried ukuleles and guitars and all kinds of things like that, very unmilitary-like, and we were not in condition obviously. And so it was a rag tag group of -- we looked like prisoners. And on each side were scores of military police, tall, white officers and men with guns and rifles, and telling to us stay in line. And then for some reason the word had gone out into the community that we were leaving that day. Although it was supposed to be a military secret, thousands of parents and family members were lined up along the street there, and you can hear them calling out the names of their sons or their sweethearts or their wives or husbands. And once in a while some person would run up, and the MP would rush out, grab that person, "Get back." And so the departure was not one that we should have anticipated. Departure from any country for men who go off to war is a glorious sign, a glorious scene, with band music and flowers, but this was not the case. They could have put all our bags in a truck, easily done that, and we could have walked head up. Instead we dragged ourselves. [Laughs] I will never forgive my country for doing that because the parents looking at this, this may have been the last sight of their sons. To see their sons dragging themselves, looking like prisoners, is not a sight that parents should recall 'cause that's the last view.

TI: Later as a senator, did you ever look into why it was done this way or as a senator did you ever do anything?

DI: No, there is no way. That's military orders, some foolish commander, some colonel, or some captain, or maybe trucks were not available. I have no idea. I don't question them, but I thought it was ridiculous.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.