It would seem at first that Charles Durning and Daniel Inouye, who died this month within a week of each other, had little or nothing in common. Durning was born in Highland Falls, N.Y in 1923; Inouye was born in Honolulu in 1924. Durning, an outstanding character actor, entertained us for decades on stage, screen and television. Inouye, a U.S. Senator for 50 years, served with quiet authority and played key roles in both the Watergate and Iran-Contra hearings.
One a statesman, the other an entertainer. And yet, if you read their extraordinary obituaries (Inouye’s is here, Durning’s is here) you will discover, as I did, that these two men shared something special–an indomitable American spirit.
Inouye, whose parents were born in Japan, overcame the rampant prejudice against Japanese-Americans that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor and went on to earn the Medal of Honor for his actions in Italy during World War II. Durning, whose father was an Irish immigrant, battled crippling poverty during the Great Depression before joining the Army and surviving both the D-Day invasion and the Battle of the Bulge.
After the war, both men pursued their dreams and achieved the kind of success that only comes from hard work and dedication. Daniel Inouye and Charles Durning. Two great Americans with nothing in common, except the thing that matters most.
Some people like to travel by train because it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of an airplane.
I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”
“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” —Everyone following you on Instagram
A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.
Comedian Greg Davies
Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.
Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.
My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me everything you know.”
“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” —Alcohol
@yoyoha (Josh Hara)
My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.
Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?
A: A mechanic.
More About Inspiring Stories
What You’re Sharing
- Orphaned on the Ocean: The Unbelievable Story of Terry Jo Duperrault
- “Pull Yourself Together!”: Rob Lowe on the Unexpected Tears of Sending His Son to College
- Romancing a Terrorist: I Posed Online as a Young Woman Interested in ISIS
- The Reunion That Took 77 Years to Happen
- The Baby Who Refused to Die: 11 Hours in Room 407