Oakland, 98, receives Congressional Medal for World Struggle II service – East Bay Occasions

A long time after his patriotism, an Oakland Military veteran receives a Congressional Medal for his army service in World Struggle II.

At 98, Harry Lew is one among some 300 Chinese language American struggle veterans who’ve survived.

Final 12 months, Congress awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to the estimated 20,000 Chinese language People who served in World Struggle II in a digital ceremony. Lew, who nonetheless enjoys enjoying tennis in San Francisco with different seniors each week, was lastly given the dignity in an in-person ceremony at Lake Park, a seniors neighborhood not removed from Lake Merritt. Now vaccinated, about 75 individuals attended, together with members of Lew’s household.

OAKLAND, CA – April 10: Harry Lew, WWII Military veteran, waves his Congressional Gold Medal after it was offered by Chinese language American Residents Alliance President Douglas Wong throughout a particular ceremony at Lake Park Unbiased Dwelling Neighborhood in Oakland, Calif. on Saturday, April 10, 2021. As well as, Lew obtained a Congressional Gold Medal Committee certificates and a Cathay Submit 384 American Legion medal for his service within the army throughout World Struggle II. (Ray Chavez / Bay Space Information Group)

“It was actually superb,” Lew mentioned after the ceremony. “I really feel actually glad and superb to have served my nation properly.”

This honor comes as Asian People throughout the nation have confronted a rise in racism and violent assaults in latest months, assaults which can be sadly nothing new to many veterans. At the same time as they served their nation, many additionally confronted racism and discrimination. A lot of these of Chinese language descent who served within the struggle weren’t allowed to turn out to be residents because of Chinese language Exclusion Regulation and different discriminatory insurance policies.

“What was extraordinary for these 20,000 Chinese language-American veterans was the selection that they confronted critical prejudice regardless of racial discrimination at residence, together with the Chinese language hate exclusion legislation that has remained in place. up till 1943, ”mentioned Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., whose personal father signed as much as serve, at a digital ceremony honoring the 20,000 Veterans in December. “These women and men had been proud to serve our nation. They deserve our deepest gratitude and it’s with immense satisfaction that we pay tribute to them immediately.

Helen Wong, commanding officer of the American Legion Cathay Submit 384, has hunted down dozens of veterans like Lew to carry ceremonies earlier than it is too late.

“The urgency is that the majority of our veterans are 95 and over, so we wish to get these medals as quickly as potential,” Wong mentioned on Saturday. “This tells you that we aren’t any much less patriotic than the neighbor subsequent door. There’s a number of anti-Asian hatred, however I feel that with tales like this we’re in a position to honor our elders and people we have now served with satisfaction. We’ll proceed.

OAKLAND, CA – APRIL 10: WWII Military veteran Harry Lew receives a certificates from the Congressional Gold Medal Committee by the American Legion Cathay Submit 384 Commander Helen Wong as president of the Alliance of Chinese language American Residents Douglas Wong applauds throughout a particular ceremony at Lake Park Unbiased Dwelling Neighborhood in Oakland, Calif., On Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Ray Chavez / Bay Space Information Group)

As a younger man, Lew landed in Balikpapan, Borneo, the place he recollects serving to cease enemy spies on the second day after he landed.

“Moreover, I used to be the one Chinese language-American soldier within the 727th Amphibian Tractor Division,” he mentioned, including that he was in a position to talk with Chinese language audio system in a camp within the area, who’ve reported the spies.

“The knowledge obtained from these spies was of nice significance to our forces in Borneo,” Lew mentioned.

The veteran additionally remembers serving to carry contemporary consuming water to individuals within the camp.

On Saturday Lew mentioned he was delighted to see help for his efforts.

“Though they arrive from completely different backgrounds, the Chinese language-American army have fought alongside their fellow People with a shared love for his or her nation,” mentioned Consultant Mark Takano, D-California, chairman of the Alumni Committee. Home fighters, throughout the digital ceremony in December. “

OAKLAND, CA – APRIL 10: WWII Military veteran Harry Lew, left, will get assist from his son Jerry Lew, of San Francisco, to placed on his military uniform earlier than he goes offered with the Congressional Gold Medal at a particular ceremony at Lake Park Unbiased Dwelling Neighborhood in Oakland, Calif. on Saturday, April 10, 2021 (Ray Chavez / Bay Space Information Group)

“With this honor,” mentioned Takano, “we inform a fuller story of the individuals who fought for the USA in World Struggle II and the private and systemic challenges they confronted.”

The Related Press contributed reporting.

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Nancy Fries

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