With President Donald Trump’s signature on Dec. 20, 2018, the "Chinese-American World War II Veteran Congressional Gold Medal Act," became law, making it official that this group of Chinese Americans will finally be recognized for their loyalty, patriotism and service to the United States during World War II. (Final version of signed bill)
By the start of the war in 1941, more than 100,000 Chinese and Chinese Americans had made a life for themselves in the U.S. Chinese Americans faced major challenges, including racial discrimination, under laws such as the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which limited Chinese labor immigration, the size of their population and their ability to build thriving communities. Nevertheless, almost 20,000 of these brave men and women served in the armed forces in every theater of battle and every branch of service, earning citations for their heroism and honorable service.
The Chinese Americans is the only U.S. minority group that has not been recognized for their service. Native Americans and Navajo Code Talkers, Tuskegee Airmen, Montford Point Marines, Women Air Force Service Pilots, Japanese Americans and Filipino Veterans have all been recognized for their service during World War II with Congressional Gold Medals — the highest honor that Congress can bestow.
To recognize the dedicated service of Chinese American veterans of World War II, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA, House Foreign Affairs Committee chair) introduced with Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) jointly introduced the Chinese American World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act oin May 4, 2017.
“The United States remains forever indebted to the bravery and sacrifice that the Chinese American veterans of World War II displayed. From the Flying Tigers, to their service in the Pacific and across Europe — these heroes answered the call of duty when our nation needed them the most and are worthy of recognition. To these brave veterans of World War II, thank you for your sacrifice. We are a grateful nation, and we honor your service by working to build a better world,” said Royce.
This legislation would collectively award the brave Chinese American World War II veterans the Congressional Gold Medal
On December 12, 2018, the House unanimously passed bipartisan legislation (HR 2358) introduced jointly by Representative Ed Royce and (R-CA, House Foreign Affairs Committee chair) and Representative Ted Lieuu (D-CA) the Chinese American World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act, recognizing the dedicated service of Chinese American veterans of World War II and collectively awards them the Congressional Gold Medal. The bill then headed to the president’s desk for his signature.
Companion legislation (S.1050) was introduced by U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and unanimously passed in the Senate on September 12, 2018.
Many cities and states around the country enacted resolutions to support the effort. There were 30 letters of support from community groups in addition to a letter signed by 66 retired generals and admirals.
As of Nov. 2, 2018, only an estimated 50 Chinese American WWII veterans were still alive. Furthermore, because many who served were not native-born when they enlisted, they were not eligible for the Congressional Gold Medal upon returning from war. Therefore, it is critical these precious few will finally receive the recognition for serving as Americans with honor and distinction. They are true representatives of “The Greatest Generation.”