WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the Military Order of the Purple Heart presented U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, with their Inspirational Leadership Award. Chairman Akaka is the eighteenth recipient of this award and the first from Hawaii.
"I am humbled to receive this honor from this group of proud Americans who have given so much to our Nation," said Akaka.
Henry Cook, National Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, presented a plaque to Akaka reading: "In recognition of his inspirational leadership and dedicated service to America's military service members and America's veterans. Senator Akaka has consistently been an advocate and sponsor of numerous legislative initiatives that provide for the needs of America's military and veterans. He served in the military in World War II and understands that those who serve America in uniform deserve the best health care and benefits that our country can provide for them. As the Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs committee he has not only talked the talk he has walked the walk as he unwaveringly sought the best for America's military veterans. His service in the Senate representing the interests of America's military and veterans is in keeping with the best traditions that are expected of those who serve America. His service reflects all that is good about government service, his native state of Hawaii, his country and the Congress of the United States."
Akaka has spent his entire Senate career fighting for wounded warriors on the Veterans' Affairs Committee. Before assuming the chairmanship in 2007, Senator Akaka served as the Committee's Ranking Democrat in 2005 and 2006. As a teenager, Akaka witnessed the Pearl Harbor bombings from the roof of his dormitory before serving in the Army Corps of Engineers in the Pacific Theatre during World War II.
The "Purple Heart" is awarded to servicemembers who are wounded in conflict by enemy force. The Purple Heart was established during the Revolutionary War by General George Washington. The Military Order of the Purple Heart is a members organization consisting of servicemembers and veterans who have been awarded the Purple Heart, and is unique in being the only veterans' organization in which each member has been wounded in military service. The MOPH also includes a Ladies Auxiliary consisting of spouses and lineal descendents of Purple Heart veterans.