HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The photograph shows Frank Tanabe, gravely ill and in a hospital bed, exercising a privilege many healthy Americans choose to ignore.
"I think he wanted to make sure that we all understand that voting is a fundamental right and responsibility of Americans. And he wanted to be sure that he did that even when he was very, very ill," Barbara Tanabe said.
She said her father is fiercely patriotic. During WW II, as a young Japanese-American held at an internment camp, he joined the U.S. Army. His Military Intelligence Service unit was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal.
At 93, Frank Tanabe suffers from inoperable liver cancer. He's in hospice care.
"He's very weak," Barbara Tanabe said. "It'll probably be a few more days of life that he has."
That's why he anxiously waited for the mail to deliver his absentee ballot for this election. When it came, he voted immediately.
"I read each candidate's name to him and he either nodded or he shook his head," Tanabe said.
His grandson posted the photograph of that moment on an Internet site. It's gone viral with more than half a million hits and counting. News outlets nationwide have picked up the story.
"In his final days he had the ultimate honor of being called a true patriot and a true American," Barbara Tanabe said.
She said her dad flew the American flag on every holiday. He always knew the candidates and voted his conscience.
"He has watched all of the political maneuverings for many months. I think he wanted to make sure that his vote counted," she said.
Tanabe said her father never failed to cast a ballot, including this election when he fulfilled his civic duty the only way he could.