A World War II veteran who inspired millions across many generations with his determination to vote even though he had end-stage liver cancer died Wednesday.
Frank Tanabe passed away with his daughter, Barbara Tanabe, by his side. She told reporters that he went to be home with the Creator at her Honolulu home, where he has spent the past few weeks in hospice. He was 93-years-old. Barbara Tanabe said she put the American flag up outside the home to mark the day for him and their family.
“He really liked it when I put out the flag,” she said.
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 posted the picture on the social media site Reddit. The photo struck a chord, prompting many to thank the veteran for his service and praise his patriotism. The story reached a higher plateau when The Associated Press and other media organizations wrote tributes about the photo and the response it generated online.
Tanabe served in a mostly Japanese-American unit of the Military Intelligence Service during the war, interrogating Japanese prisoners in India and China. He volunteered for the Army from an internment camp where the U.S. government sent him as part of a policy to detain and isolate 110,000 Japanese-Americans after the start of the war with Japan. He spent time in both the Tule Lake camp in California and the Minidoka camp in Idaho.