93-Year-Old Bedridden War Veteran Casts Vote
(HONOLULU) -- Nothing in the world was going to stop 93-year-old Frank Tanabe from voting in this year’s election. With the help of his daughter Barbara, the bedridden World War II vet filled out his absentee ballot.
His grandson, Noah, posted a photo to the website Reddit of Tanabe filling out his ballot in his hospital bed in his daughter’s home in Honolulu.
“My sister just happened to be standing with her smartphone and decided to take a picture because she wanted to send it to family members on the mainland to show that my dad was still able to fully engage in activities that are very important,” Barbara Tanabe told ABC News.
Two months ago, Tanabe was diagnosed with an inoperable cancerous tumor in his liver. Because of his condition, he can’t really speak, Barbara Tanabe said, but he was adamant about getting in his vote.
“I said, ‘This is for president,’ and I read him the four names on the ballot,” Barbara Tanabe said. “Then I went back and said, ‘Okay, Dad, now nod or shake your head for each.’”
Politics has always been important to Tanabe, a father of four and grandfather of five, his daughter said. In 2008, Tanabe and his wife, Setsuko, attended a rally in Honolulu for Hillary Clinton when Chelsea Clinton came.
“He and my mom were very big fans of Hillary Clinton because there was a possibility of having a woman break the barrier,” Barbara Tanabe said.
Tanabe is originally from Seattle, where he attended the University of Washington. He was pulled from college and taken to the Tule Lake internment camp in California after the start of World War II. There, he volunteered to join the Army.
In 2008, the University of Washington gave Tanabe and several other second-generation Japanese students honorary degrees.
The photo of Tanabe on Reddit got tons of attention, with many people commenting about his patriotism and thanking him for his dedication.
“The fact that so many people viewed it and were inspired was very, very surprising and heartwarming for us,” Barbara Tanabe said.
One of the people most moved by Tanabe’s desire to vote was his grandson, Noah.
“He said from now on for the rest of his life he’s going to think about grandpa every time he votes, and that is a wonderful legacy,” Barbara Tanabe said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio