Many years after his patriotism, an Oakland Military veteran is being honored with a Congressional medal for his army service throughout World Warfare II.
At 98, Harry Lew is certainly one of simply 300 or so surviving Chinese language American veterans of the battle.
Final yr, Congress awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to the roughly 20,000 Chinese language Individuals who served throughout World Warfare II throughout a digital ceremony. Lew, who nonetheless enjoys taking part in tennis in San Francisco with fellow seniors every week, was lastly introduced with the glory throughout an in-person ceremony at Lake Park, a senior dwelling group not removed from Lake Merritt. Now vaccinated, roughly 75 individuals attended, together with members of Lew’s household.
“It was actually superb,” Lew stated after the ceremony. “I actually really feel comfortable and superb that I served my nation effectively.”
The honour comes as Asian Individuals throughout the nation have confronted an increase in racism and violent assaults in current months, assaults which can be sadly nothing new for a lot of veterans. At the same time as they served their nation, many additionally confronted racism and discrimination. A lot of these with Chinese language ancestry who served within the battle have been barred from turning into residents due to the Chinese language Exclusion Act and different discriminatory insurance policies.
“What was extraordinary for these 20,000 Chinese language American veterans was the selection they made within the face of gross prejudice regardless of going through racial discrimination at dwelling, together with the hateful Chinese language Exclusion Act that remained in place till 1943,” stated Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., whose personal father signed as much as serve, throughout a digital ceremony to honor the 20,000 veterans in December. “These women and men have been proud to serve our nation. They deserve our deepest gratitude, and it’s with large satisfaction that we honor them right now.”
Helen Wong, commander of the American Legion Cathay Put up 384, has been monitoring down dozens of veterans like Lew to carry ceremonies earlier than it’s too late.
“The urgency is that almost all of our veterans are age 95 and up so we need to get these medals out as quickly as we are able to,” Wong stated Saturday. “It tells you we’re no much less patriotic than the subsequent door neighbor. There’s quite a lot of anti-Asian hate occurring, however I feel with tales like this we’re in a position to honor our elders and people we served with with satisfaction. We’re going to maintain going.”
As a younger man, Lew landed at Balikpapan, Borneo, the place he remembers serving to arrest enemy spies the second day after touchdown.
“By the way, I used to be the one Chinese language-American soldier within the 727th Amphibian Tractor Division,” he stated, including that he was in a position to talk with Chinese language audio system at a camp within the space, who identified the spies.
“The knowledge obtained from these spies was of nice significance to our forces in Borneo,” Lew stated.
The veteran additionally remembers serving to convey recent consuming water to these within the camp.
On Saturday, Lew stated he was thrilled to see assist for his efforts.
“Regardless of coming from completely different backgrounds, Chinese language-American service members fought alongside their fellow Individuals with a shared love for his or her nation,” Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., chairman of the Home Veterans Affairs Committee, stated through the digital ceremony in December. Chinese language Individuals “flew bomber missions over Europe, served on our ships within the Pacific, stormed the seashores of Normandy and fought within the Battle of the Bulge and helped liberate Central Europe.”
“With this honor,” Takano stated, “we’re telling a extra full story of the individuals who fought for the USA throughout World Warfare II and the non-public and systemic challenges they confronted.”
The Related Press contributed reporting.
— to www.mercurynews.com