A World War II veteran who inspired many with his determination to vote even though he had end-stage liver cancer has died.
Frank Tanabe’s daughter Barbara Tanabe says he died this morning at her Honolulu home. He was 93.
Hundreds of thousands of people saw a photo of Frank Tanabe filling out his absentee ballot with the help of his daughter last week, after his grandson Noah Tanabe posted the picture on the social media site Reddit.
Frank Tanabe served in a mostly Japanese-American unit of the Military Intelligence Service during WWII. He volunteered to join the Army from the Tule Lake internment camp in California.
Decades later, Tanabe explained how he felt in an interview for a documentary tribute to Japanese-American veterans.
“I wanted to do my part to prove that I was not an enemy alien, or that none of us were — that we were true Americans. And if we ever got the chance, we would do our best to serve our country. And we did,” he said.
Honolulu elections officials say his vote will be counted unless they receive his death certificate before the Nov. 6 election and are able to single out his ballot from those submitted.
His family knows which candidates he chose, but they’ve decided to keep that information private.
Barbara Tanabe said it’s not important who her father voted for — it’s the voting itself that makes a difference.