HomeChinese AmericanSlide show: 6 living Chinese American WWII vets honored

Slide show: 6 living Chinese American WWII vets honored

Photo Essay by Karen Zhou

It was a rare moment in American history.

Six living Chinese American veterans came together in New Orleans Saturday to receive the Congressional Gold Medal at the National World War II Museum.

600 people came from all over the country to witness Arthur T.S. Shak, William Shih Yin Ching, Wai Hoo Tong, Donald T.S. Lee, Harry G. Jung, and Wing Fook Joseph Li all being honored.

It was the culmination of a years-long effort by the Chinese American WWII Veterans
Recognition Project, a project of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance.

Earlier on March 8, 160 families accepted Gold Medals on behalf of their descendants at the Higgins Hotel, also in New Orleans.

Veterans and their descendants around the country have been receiving the medals since 2020, but this was a unique opportunity to see six living Chinese American veterans all together.

Photographer Karen Zhou captured the moment for AsAmNews in this photo essay.

Our thanks to Jane Chin, a long-time board member of the Chinese American Historical Society and Roberta Chew for their assistance with this story.

  • Aircrafts of various sizes hang above the Boeing Center where ceremony was held.
  • 600 people attended the ceremony to honor six living Chinese American veterans
  • Victory Belles sing National Anthem
  • WWII Veteran, William Shih Yin Ching of the US Army Air Corps accepting Congressional Gold Medal.
  • WWII Veteran, Donald T.S. Lee of the US Merchant Marine accepting Congressional Gold Medal.
  • WWII Veteran, Wing Fook Joseph Li of the US Army Air Corps accepting Congressional Gold Medal. His daughter drove him 11 hours to New Orleans. Despite his age of 101, he was determined to make it to the ceremony.
  • WWII veteran, Wai Hoo Tong poses with Major General Clarence K.K. Chinn and Rear Admiral Alma Lau Grocki.
  • WWII National Museum President, Stephen J. Watson shakes hands with WWII Veteran, Arthur T.S. Shak before presenting him with the Congressional Gold Medal. Mr. Shak accepts then gifts the medal to the WWII National Museum so they can have one to display.
  • Ed Gor, National Director of the Chinese American WWII Veterans Recognition Project pointing to WWII veteran, Harry G. Jung’s medals. Harry was trained as a rifleman under the 104th infantry Timberwolf Division and later assigned to the 414th Regiment, 1st Battalion, Company C where he participated in a night assault on the Village of Eschweiler, Germany. He was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Good Conduct, WWII Victory, European Campaign and American Campaign Medals.
  • Major General William Chen remarks on history “Please keep in mind that at the time of their [WWII Chinese American veterans] service there was still discriminatory aspects of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act not repealed until December of 1943. The legacy of Chinese Americans in WWII were they defended the freedom that we so much enjoyed, they demonstrated skills, competencies, loyalty and patriotism. They served with pride and they proudly served as Americans paving the way for future generations to serve in the US Armed Forces.”
  • Chinese American WWII Veteran Congressional Gold Medal Recipients holding their certificate of recognition from the Governor of Louisiana.
  • Chinese American WWII Veteran Congressional Gold Medal Recipients proudly holding their certificates with Major General Bill Chen, Major General Clarence K.K. Chinn, Major General Stephen Tom, Major General Ted Wong, Rear Admiral Alma Lau Grocki, Brigadier General Edwin A. (Skip) Vincent and President & CEO of the National WWII Museum, Stephen J. Watson, Colonel Peter D. Cream and Ed Gor, National Director, Chinese American WWII Veterans Recognition Project.
  • African American descendant of Chinese American veteran
  • WWII Veteran, Wing Fook Joseph Li at 101 years old happily walks with his daughter and an aide to receive his medal.
  • Guests come to greet WWII veteran, Wing Fook Joseph Li and to thank him for his service.
  • Major General William Chen, National Director of the Chinese American WWII Veterans Recognition Project, Ed Gor and the WWII National Museum President, Stephen J. Watson with Chinese American WWII Veteran Congressional Gold Medal Recipients: Donald T.S. Lee, Harry G. Jung, Wing Fook Joseph Li, Wai Hoo Tong, William Shih Yin Ching and Arthur T.S. Shak.
  • Major General Ted Wong and Jeannie Wong at the Chinese American Veterans of WWII Congressional Gold Medal Commemoration
  • Ed Gor, National Director of the Chinese American WWII Veterans Recognition Project gives remarks.
  • Many attendees included families of WWII Chinese American veterans whose are no longer around. They came to pay respect to the living Veterans and to remember the sacrifices of their family member who served in WWII.
  • Ed Gor, the National Director of Chinese American WWII Veterans Recognition Project provides each veteran with a certificate of recognition from the Governor of Louisiana.
  • Kenneth Wong, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army sits with WWII veteran, Wing Fook Joseph Li and WWII veteran, Harry G. Jung. These veterans are from his home state of Philadelphia.
  • Major General Ted Wong with WWII veteran, Harry G. Jung.
  • Major General William Chen with Colonel Peter D. Cream of the US Army
  • As National Director of the Chinese American WWII Veterans Recognition Project, Ed Gor played an instrumental role in getting passage of legislation recognizing all WWII Chinese American Veterans. He has been there every step of the way from fundraising to purchase medals to producing a book in 2020 and organizing countless ceremonies throughout the country to honor WWII Chinese American veterans.
  • WWII veteran, Arthur T.S. Shak was given an opportunity to speak. His daughter is holding his speech with Major General Bill Chen by his side.
  • WWII Veteran, Arthur T.S. Shak of the US Army Air Corps accepting the Congressional Gold Medal. He witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor and served as an Air Navigator completing 51 missions in the European Theater.
  • WWII veteran, Arthur T.S Shak with his daughter and a friend.
  • WWII veteran, Arthur T.S. Shak gives short remarks and Mahalo to everyone.
  • Major General Clarence K.K. Chinn and Kenneth Wong, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army at the Chinese American Veterans of WWII Congressional Gold Medal Commemoration.
  • Victory Belles gave surprise kisses to WWII veteran, William Shih Ying Ching
  • Victory Belles made WWII veteran, William Shih Ying Ching chuckle after he got kissed.
  • The Victory Belles greets WWII Veteran, Wai Hoo Tong
  • Victory Belles greet WWII veteran, Donald T.S. Lee and plants a kiss on his left cheek
  • Ceremony brought tears to WWII veteran, William Shih Yin Ching’s eyes.
  • WWII veteran, Wai Hoo Tong clasps his hands together as he listens to the presentations.

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.

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