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Sen. Daniel Inouye's legacy in Los Angeles

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Senate Appropriations Committee Defense Subcommittee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) delivers an opening statement during a hearing on the proposed FY2012 Army budget estimates on Capitol Hill May 18, 2011 in Washington, DC. He died Monday at 88.

Angelenos are honoring late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, who died Monday at 88, for his role in helping to shape a Southland institution.

Inouye was a founding member of the Japanese American National Museum in L.A.'s Little Tokyo, said Greg Kimura, the museum's chief executive officer. He was active on its board of governors and in the museum's programs for many years. 

"We've been talking about him a lot around the museum," Kimura said on Tuesday. "It's been quite an emotional day."

The museum opened in 1992 after years of planning. It highlights the Japanese American experience in the United States and has a strong focus on education and civil rights. In 2008 Iouye  married Irene Hirano, the museum's  longtime president and CEO. For many years before that, Inouye had been involved hands-on with several of the museum's projects, particularly its National Center for the Preservation of Democracy.