World War II Memorial
As if making it to 100 years of age wasn’t enough of an achievement, a Chinese American World War II veteran also celebrated something else on Saturday: a Congressional Gold Medal.
Lambert Wai, who served as a staff sergeant in the Army, received the medal as part of a greater award to all Chinese American veterans of the war, according to KHON. The veterans will receive their medals in Washington in the fall; however, Wai’s ailments and injuries will prevent him from attending.
Maj. Gen. Robert Lee, a member of the Chinese-American Veterans Recognition Committee, presented the award to Wai in his Honolulu home.
“I’m deeply honored to present this Congressional Gold Medal, awarded by Congress, to Chinese-American veterans of World War II,” Lee told Wai. “Thank you for your service.”
It is believed 20,000 Chinese Americans served in World War II and fewer than 300 are still alive today, CBS San Francisco reports.
All three of Wai’s older brothers also enlisted during the war. However, Lambert was initially unable to accompany them because of the Sole Survivor Policy that regulated how many members of a family could join the military at the same time.
As a result, Lambert only joined after his brother Francis was killed in action in the Philippines, according to KHON. Francis also received a Medal of Honor.
“There were a lot of Chinese Americans that served,” Lambert said. “I’m very proud of my brother.”
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