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American Legion Chinese-American post celebrates 75th anniversary

<i>KOVR</i><br/>Chinese-American veterans and their families came together to mark the milestone.
Chinese-American veterans and their families came together to mark the milestone.

By Sakura Gray

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    SACRAMENTO, California (KOVR) — This Veteran’s Day weekend, American Legion Gung Ho post 696 celebrated its 75th anniversary. We got to see how Chinese-American veterans and their families came together to mark the milestone.

It was a momentous occasion for Gung Ho Post 696.

“Today, we’re looking forward to celebrating our 75th anniversary just wishing a big happy birthday,” said post commander Freeman Lee.

The event was an opportunity to reflect on the post’s history as well as a way to preserve and honor the memories of the fallen.

“A veteran died not too long ago and we came out; we were able to secure all the benefits for her — even look into her property tax status…the camaraderie is just wonderful,” said Lee.

As Chinese-American soldiers, sailors and airmen returned to Sacramento following WWII, they faced prejudice. A post commander even suggested that Chinese-American veterans form their own post.

“Unfortunately, they couldn’t join another post or they would face discrimination,” said event organizer Janice Joe.

They heeded the advice and American Legion Gung Ho Post 696 was born.

Today, replicas of a special Congressional gold medal are awarded to Chinese servicemen and women who served in WWII when institutionalized racism denied many of them their American citizenship.

It’s a token of appreciation for their service and the ripple effect that followed.

“We know that some of their children became doctors and lawyers and active in our community,” said Joe.

The words Gung Ho loosely mean “to work together.” Current members say they strive to carry on that legacy as they advocate for veterans in the Sacramento region.

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