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Chinese veterans honored with Congressional gold medals

Six Chinese American veterans will be honored Saturday with Congressional Gold Medals for their involvement in World War II at the National WWI Museum in New Orleans, in collaboration with the Chinese American WWII Veterans Recognition Project.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the oldest and highest civilian award, originating from heroic figures of the Revolutionary War who played a major role in shaping American history, NOLA.com reported. 

The museum, NOLA.com said, will gives thanks to service members including William Shih Yin Ching (Army Air Corps), Wai Hoo Tong (Army), Donald T.S. Lee (Merchant Marine), Harry G. Jung (Army), Wing Fook Joseph Li (Army Air Corps) and Arthur T.S. Shak (Army Air Corps). 

With approximately 20,000 Chinese Americans having served in each branch of the U.S. military during the Second World War, the Chinese American community made a great impact on U.S. participation in the conflict, according to New Orleans Magazine.

Of these Chinese American veterans, 40% were not U.S. citizens due to exclusionary laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act which was only repealed in 1943, four years after the war’s beginning, the U.S. Army Center of Military History reported. 

“Despite facing discrimination since before the war, many Chinese American servicemembers earned citations for their heroism and honorable service, including the Medal of Honor,” reads a statement from the museum. “In December 2018, the Chinese American World War II Veteran Congressional Gold Medal Act was signed into law in recognition of their dedicated service during the war.”

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