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6 Chinese American WWII vets awarded Congressional Gold Medals

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Six Chinese American World War II veterans were awarded Congressional Gold Medals for their service over the weekend.

Who they are: William Shih Yin Ching of the Army Corps, Wai Hoo Tong of the Army, Donald T.S. Lee of the Merchant Marine, Harry G. Jung of the Army, Wing Fook Joseph Li of the Army Air Corps and Arthur T.S. Shak of the Army Air Corps received the medals at a ceremony held at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans on Saturday.

About the award: The Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by Congress, is granted to individuals who have made significant and enduring contributions to American history and culture. Established during the Revolutionary War, notable recipients include George Washington, Thomas Edison, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King. The ceremony was organized in collaboration with the Chinese American WWII Veterans Recognition Project.

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Background: Approximately 20,000 Chinese Americans served in the U.S. Armed Forces during WWII. About 40% of them were not even U.S. citizens due to exclusionary laws targeting people of Chinese descent.

Recognizing their contribution and sacrifice, former President Donald Trump signed the Chinese American World War II Veteran Congressional Gold Medal Act in 2018.

What they’re saying: At the event, awardee Arthur T.S. Shak, who hails from Hawaii, said he was “very honored and humbled” after being selected to deliver the “expression of gratitude” to those who established the World War II Museum project.

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“We are so grateful,” he said. “Mahalo to the National WWII Museum president.”

 

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