Six Chinese American World War II veterans were honored by the Seattle Seahawks in a game against the Minnesota Vikings (37-30) on Dec. 2.
The veterans, namely Gene Moy (102), Thomas Lew (96), William “JB” Chin (95), Calvin Fung (95), William “Bill” Chin (94), and Lip Mar (92), received recognition during the two-minute warning in the first half, with the Seahawks putting aside a part of its in-game promotions.
“We consider it an honor to salute these veterans,” Mike Flood, Seattle Seahawks’ vice president of community outreach and a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard himself, told iExaminer ahead of the game. “We want our fans to know what a sacrifice these Americans made for our country and what they went through to serve.”
He added, “These veterans went a long time without being recognized. They are a huge part of the fabric of this country and its time we honor them for their service.”
Great win. Great honor. Thank you @Seahawks for honoring 6 Chinese American WW2 veterans and Congressional Gold Medal recipients — ages 92 to 102— at tonight’s game. They were so touched by the recognition. @rodmarphoto @SeattleChannel #GoHawks pic.twitter.com/3tFkFUufOt
— Mimi Gan (@Mi2Media) December 3, 2019
In December 2018, President Donald Trump signed the Chinese American World War II Veteran Congressional Gold Medal Act, which sought the creation of the medals to recognize over 20,000 Chinese Americans who fought in the war while the Chinese Exclusion Act was still in place.
The veterans will receive the Congressional Gold Medal at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in Spring 2020, which will be presided over by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Win or lose this was the best part of the game tonight for me. Honoring the Chinese American WWII veterans😍 pic.twitter.com/KTWoqsVPH8
— Chief Carmen Best (@carmenbest) December 3, 2019
Videos from the Dec. 2 game show the crowd giving a standing ovation and erupting in cheers as the six Chinese American veterans graced the north end zone of CenturyLink Field.
“[To] see all these men recognized for all their patriotism, their bravery, and their courage is just amazing,” Rod Mar, a nephew of Lip Mar, told the Seattle Channel.
Born in Guangdong, China in 1917, Gene Moy arrived in the United States with his father in 1931. He was drafted at the age of 18 and served as a mess sergeant, feeding up to 300 people a day.
Thomas Lew was an expert sharpshooter in the amphibious tank unit for the Army from 1943 to 1946. He completed his foreign service in the Philippines.
Like Moy, William “JB” Chin was also drafted at 18, volunteering to fight in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, and the Hurtgen Forest region, where his platoon was captured by the Germans in November 1944. He received a field promotion to corporal before returning to the U.S.
Calvin Fung was also drafted at 18, working as a staff sergeant and general clerk. He served in five battles and campaigns during his service, including Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe.
Following his high school graduation in 1943, William “Bill” Chin was drafted by the Army and served with the 93rd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron in the European theater. He took part in the Central European Campaign and the Battle of Rhineland and achieved the rank of radio operator, Tec 5.
Lip Mar was also drafted at 18 but was given the choice to join any military branch. He chose the Navy and was assigned as a hospital corpsman at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in California, where he treated military personnel engaged in the Pacific theater.
“As an individual, they may not have done anything, but as a group, they managed to save the world,” Terry Nicolas, commander of the Veterans of Foreign War post in which the six are members, told Northwest Asian Weekly. He said that the night was everything, “especially for these guys to be finally honored.”
Seattle Senior Deputy Mayor Mike Fong told the same outlet, “As a Chinese American, their service and sacrifice for our country fills me with pride. I am honored to have had the opportunity to meet each of them in person.”
Feature Image via @Mi2Media