Group of Chinese American WW2 vets honored for the first time

HACIENDA HEIGHTS, Calif. (KABC) -- Memorial Day weekend is a time to honor those in the military who paid the ultimate sacrifice. But for some Chinese American veterans, this weekend will be the first time they've ever been recognized for their service.

"I think for older generations there's a lapse of memory and history," said author Marjorie Lee, who believes some of these veterans might not even remember their service.

"Whether it's painful, or whether (it's that) we focus on the now and the future," Lee said.

At a ceremony in Hacienda Heights, elected leaders offered certificates of congressional recognition to three Chinese American World War II veterans. For nearly a dozen others, family members accepted those honors on their behalf.

Democratic Congressman Mark Takano of Riverside reminded the audience that many of these veterans weren't even allowed to be U.S. citizens at the time, because of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

"It's very poignant to me that we had Chinese Americans who stepped forward," said Takano. "Either as citizens because they were born here, or as immigrants who did not have a pathway to citizenship.

"But (they) still fought to this country," Takano added.
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