Chinese-American WWII veterans awarded Congressional Gold Medals in Fresno

Local News

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Ray Lee is one of four living Chinese-American veterans who was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal on Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Museum in Fresno for his service in World War II.

“This was a great day for me! I feel like a rare bird. I’m one of the only ones hanging around. The rest are all gone. All my buddies are gone. I feel kind of left out. I miss them,” Lee said.

Edward Sing Quan, Hansen Chin, and Wing Tuck Chin were the other three veterans honored at the ceremony along with five widows of deceased veterans. 

In 2018, former President Donald Trump signed the Chinese American World War II Veteran Congressional Medal Act into law, which awarded medals to roughly 20,000 Chinese-American veterans nationwide.

Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, Congressman David Valadao and Kerman Mayor Gary Yep were just a few of the people who spoke at the event and presented medals to veterans and their families.

“Those of us who have not served will never fully understand the sacrifices that not only you, but your families, have made for our country. Today, I am honored to personally be here to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our great country,” Valadao said.

Ray Lee, still dancing and smiling at 97-years-old, was also one of the people who helped put the Veterans Memorial Museum together many years ago, and encourages citizens to come take a look around.

“This is one of the finest museums. I want the people to come in and take a look at this place. We need more people coming in and seeing this place and appreciate what we have done for them,” he said.

The museum is open from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.  Admission is free to the public.

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