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Photo of WWII veteran in Hawaii casting his vote captures hearts

By Audrey McAvoy

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 7:39 p.m. HST, Oct 22, 2012

Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

 A photograph of a 93-year-old World War II veteran casting what will likely be his last ballot has captured the hearts of tens of thousands of Internet users.

The photo shows Frank Tanabe lying in a hospital bed at home in Honolulu as his daughter Barbara Tanabe helps him fill out his absentee ballot. 

A half-million people saw the picture on the website Reddit after his grandson posted it there on Thursday. This made it one of the most popular items on the social media network for a day after.

The top rated comment on the post said “True Patriotism.”

Doctors diagnosed Tanabe with an inoperable cancer tumor in his liver two months ago. He’s been in hospice care for the past three weeks at his daughter’s home.

He’s been determined to vote regardless, eagerly asking when the ballot would be arriving in the mail, his daughter said. She kept telling him, “don’t worry, it’s coming.” He filled it out immediately when it landed in the mailbox on Wednesday.

Barbara Tanabe read aloud the names of the candidates to her dad. He either nodded “yes” to the names or shook his head “no.” She filled in the boxes on his behalf, following his instructions even when he didn’t pick the people she wanted.

“There were some that were OK, but there were others where I said, ‘Dad, are you sure?”’ she said.

But he knew what he was doing. He’s kept up on the issues, reading newspapers regularly until only recently, she said.

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