Photo of World War II Veteran Casting Ballot Captures Hearts

Yahoo! News captured the story behind a photograph of 93-year-old Second World War veteran Frank Tanabe casting what will likely be his last ballot, The photo captured the hearts of tens of thousands of Internet users. The photo shows Tanabe lying in a hospital bed at home as his daughter, Barbara, helps him fill out his absentee ballot. A half-million people saw the picture on the website Reddit after his grandson, Noah, posted it there, making it one of the most popular items on the social media network.
Doctors diagnosed Tanabe with an inoperable cancer tumor in his liver , and he’s been in hospice care at his daughter’s home while his condition deteriorates. But Tanabe is determined to vote. Barbara read aloud the names of the candidates to her dad and he either nodded “yes” to the names or shook his head “no.” She said he knew what he was doing. He’s kept up on the issues, reading newspapers regularly until only recently, she said.
Tanabe volunteered to join the Army from behind barbed wire at the Tule Lake internment camp in California, writes Yahoo! He was pulled out of college at the University of Washington and taken to the camp when President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered 110,000 Japanese Americans be detained and isolated after the start of the war with Japan. The Army assigned Tanabe to the Military Intelligence Service, a classified unit whose members were collectively awarded the Congressional Gold Medal last year along with soldiers who served in the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team — highly decorated segregated units of mostly Japanese Americans.
“It’s hard to imagine — after his family business is torched, his family imprisoned, and denied the opportunity to finish his college education — he volunteered to serve,” said Tanabe’s grandson Noah. “I don’t know if I would have done the same thing, but we are all very proud of him,” he said.
“I think he feels like joining the Army, going to the camp, fighting in the war and fighting discrimination: these were all things he did so that we have this precious right to vote,” said Barbara. “For so many people to express their heartfelt tribute to my father was really, really heartwarming for us.”

 

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