The terminally ill 93-year-old World War II veteran who moved many with his determination to vote in the 2012 presidential election passed away yesterday exactly a week to the day that he filled out his absentee ballot.
Frank Tanabe was recently diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer and knew this would be his last election. But despite being on his deathbed and unable to move, the Hawaii resident who voted in every election since being granted citizenship to fight in WWII wanted to make sure he got a chance to do his civic duty one last time.
An absentee ballot arrived in Honolulu on October 17th, and he happily cast his vote with the help of his daughter Barbara.
As a young man, Tanabe, a Japanese-American, spent time in both the Tule Lake internment camp in California and the Minidoka internment camp in Idaho. He volunteered to join a Military Intelligence Service unit mostly made up of Japanese-Americans so he could "prove that I was not an enemy alien, or that none of us were."
After a photo of Tanabe voting went viral online and was reported on by many major news outlets, his daughter specifically chose two articles to read to him: One from the Los Angeles Times and one from the Idaho Statesman.
"I was thinking these are the two big newspapers in Idaho and California, where he went to camp," she told the Associated Press. "It's just a nice way to look back at history and say that things do turn out OK."