1,000 words: The last vote

This is the photo that has the country rallying around one guy and his inspiration today.


He’s Frank Tanabe,93, and he’s got liver cancer. He may not make it to Election Day, so his family helped him fill out his ballot.

The backstory comes from the Associated Press. Tanabe volunteered to serve in World War II from behind the barbed wire of the camp in which he was imprisoned because he was a Japanese American.

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.

“I’d like to accept on behalf of all hyphenated Americans, including American-Americans,” Tanabe told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser at the time. “We all served together in defense of our country.”

Noah Tanabe, the grandson who posted the photo online, said he thinks about his grandfather every time he votes.

“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. I don’t know if I would have done the same thing, but we are all very proud of him,” he said.

Last year at the U.S. Capitol, Mr. Tanabe represented his unit in accepting the Congressional Gold Medal.


Sometimes the people you fear the most, the people who others once thought unworthy of the benefits of freedom, become the very picture of it.

What a country!