HomeBlogsDrive to Gain Recognition for Chinese American World War II Veterans Underway

Drive to Gain Recognition for Chinese American World War II Veterans Underway

Chinese veterans

By Shirley Lew
AsAmNews Staff Writer
 

I left for Washington DC on a 9:37am train. Photojournalist Corky Lee had already arrived there. This would be his second trip advocating for H.R.2358 and S.1050 as a member of the Sons of American Legion Lt. Kim Lau Post 1291. The two bills would honor Chinese American WW2 veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor. Corky was also here in February to lobby for the bills. My three daughters are members of the Women’s Auxiliary of the same American Legion post because their great grandfather (my spouse’s grandfather) was a World War 2 veteran. I, unfortunately, can not join, as I am not the blood relative of the veteran, but am a big supporter.

Corky and I both came to Washington DC for a week to gain support from our US Congressional Members. Actually Samantha Cheng,  founder of the Chinese American WW2 Veterans Recognition Project, asked if I would come to Washington DC to advocate and I said, “Yes.”  Samantha started this project in 2016. I will be here through Friday, September 7. Congress is back in session on Tuesday, September 4th and some of them will be hearing both Corky and I speak before them.

Samantha picked up Corky and I Sunday afternoon to go photograph and interview, Dr. Grant Moy Sr., a 101-year-old WW2 veteran visiting from San Francisco. He was staying at this son’s home in the DC area. As Samantha sat with him at the kitchen table. she was having trouble finding Dr. Moy in a database of veterans. Samantha discovered this orthopedic doctor, Grant Moy Sr., was listed as “White”. His service ID number matched. Our hypothesis on this was perhaps the only two options to select for race on the forms were “White” or “Black”, so randomly selected “White”, or whomever was filling out Dr. Moy’s registration forms was in denial that a Chinese American man born in Chicago, IL could be a military doctor. Sad thing is that this error can not be corrected and,according to Samantha, these errors were not uncommon. Makes you wonder how many more errors are in our military records. Yikes.

Today, Corky and I will be prepped on how to advocate and will learn from Vincent Eng which members of Congress we will meet. I don’t know much about Vincent, but it appears (as described to me) that he works under his freelance business name, “VENG”, aka Vincent Eng, and is a lawyer. He’s been described to me as a person who knows the ins and outs of getting around Capitol Hill. He’s been contracted by the National Chinese American Citizens Alliance (CACA) to get our foot in the door.   The Chinese American WW2 Veterans Recognition Project is now a program of the National CACA, but Samantha still manages it. CACA is a century-old civil rights organization and was brought on board by Samantha to gain wider outreach.

 

Shirley Lew, Samantha Ng and Corky Lee Lobby for Chinese Veterans

Many of you may think the US Government automatically issues a Congressional Gold Medal because your loved one, the veteran, is “in the system.”  No, this is not true. There is no system. Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? But it’s not until someone like Samantha, an individual that comes along with blood, sweat, tears, and full blown passion, creates a movement to get a group of veterans to be recognized for their service, does any veteran receive a Congressional Gold Medal. For any Chinese American WW2 veteran to be recognized under these two bills, they must be registered in this project’s specific database.  To register the veteran (alive or deceased), visit this link and go under the “Preservation” tab: https://caww2.org.

I am excited to be here in Washington, to shed light on our Chinese ancestors that served our nation in the military just like any other service man or woman. The past year,  I have learned about some of my friends’ fathers who served in WW2. Some have their enlistment and discharge papers, dog tags, the flag and many photos.  Another still had his father’s military jacket. In the case of my girls’ great grandfather, we only have his service number (dog tag ID), his date of service and one photo of him in military uniform. We’ve applied to receive his enlistment and discharge papers, but have not received them yet. The unfortunate thing is, we believe his flag was thrown out after his death in the early 1980’s. My take on this is that  it is a Chinese superstition to keep anything that belonged to the deceased. Sad that those relatives didn’t know any better.

I created a hashtag for anyone that wishes to follow my posts throughout the day while I am here in Washington DC: #NG4CAWW2V, which is Ng (my last name) for Chinese American WW2 Veterans.

Finally, I’d like to thank everyone that supported me and Corky for being here. We want you to do your part too and that is to reach out to your politicians and let them know you want them to support the bills, H.R.2358 and S.1050.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. RE: Drive to Gain Recognition for Chinese American World War II Veterans Underway: My late father James King Fong, Sr. enlisted in fighter pilot school with his two ABC roommates but the Army Air Corps washed them out (racism) before they could earn their wings. Dad was determined to get into the fight so he jumped into bomber school. Became a 2nd Lt navigator/bombardier in B17 351st squadron in England. He flew 35 bombing missions over Germany. Came home a decorated vet.

    It has irked me how contributions like his and other Chinese Americans have been ignored.

    • Dr. Fong: Please fill out the intake form at http://www.caww2.org/preservation with your Father’s information so that his service to this nation will be recognized. We are counting every Chinese who served on the behalf the the US Armed Forces during WWII. We sadly realized shortly after starting this project that despite the military’s efforts there is not one single, complete data base of the Chinese who served in WWII in any of the six branches of the US Armed Services. If you have any questions, please contact me at [email protected]. Thanks.

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