Schieffer on the courage of Daniel Inouye

(CBS News) Sometimes in Washington, it all comes at once - the good, the bad, the inexplicable.

On Friday, we remembered one of the best of us at a memorial service for Hawaii's Senator Daniel Inouye, a true hero who lost his arm in World War II - one of the last of the "Greatest Generation," a man who came to Washington before compromise was a dirty word.

The service came on a day when we also saw Washington at its worst: the President and Congressional leaders leaving town after partisanship again prevailed, and they were unable to find a way to stave off what could be real economic chaos.

And what other word but inexplicable could one use to describe the news conference called by the National Rifle Association?

Inouye's generation will forever be remembered for its common sense, the inner strength that got it through the Great Depression, and above all its courage, the courage that led it to confront Nazism, the greatest evil the world has ever known.

The President said he hoped people would drink some eggnog and sing a few Christmas carols, and then come back to Washington and start over on finding a ways to solve problems.

Maybe we could also reflect - just for a moment - on the courage of Inouye's generation, and what that has meant for those of us who came after.

  • Bob Schieffer On Twitter»

    Bob Schieffer is CBS News' chief Washington correspondent and anchor of Face the Nation.

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