Breaking News
More () »

Medal honoring Chinese American veterans of WWII permanently displayed at Sacramento library

There are approximately 200 Chinese American veterans who have been identified in Sacramento.
Credit: ABC10/KXTV

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Robert Fong was one among many in a crowd, beaming as a Congressional Gold Medal was presented to honor the contributions and service of Chinese American veterans during World War II.

For Fong, who grew up in Folsom, the medal was a personal recognition, as he recalled his own military career in the U.S. Army. He earned his third Bronze Star as a "runner" in the Philippines, exchanging written messages between U.S. positions under Japanese control.

"I thank everyone for recognizing that we did something, and I'm happy that I get something and I'm still here," said Fong. 

He's just one of approximately 200 Chinese American veterans who have been identified in Sacramento, according to Judi Wong, the emcee of the event. 

The medal is now permanently displayed at the Sacramento Room in the Sacramento Public Library. 

"A lot of local people go to the library, so they decided to put it here," said Wong. The medal is also a reflection of the Sacramento Room's mission, which is to collect and preserve Sacramento's history. 

Ed Gor, national director of the Chinese American WWII Veterans Recognition Project, spoke about the significance of the medal as he presented it to Sacramento Public Library Director and CEO Peter Coyl. 

He described the front of the medal, which shows seven uniforms, representing seven Chinese servicemen and servicewomen in different branches of the military — the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, Merchant Marine and Army Nurse Corps. The back of the medal depicts symbols that represent Chinese Americans who have served on land, sea and air. 

"Their faith overcame their fear, their hope overcame their hurt, their determination defeated discrimination. Their patriotism prevailed over prejudice. And that's why all minority veterans deserve that kind of recognition," said Gor. 

The ceremony on Wednesday follows a presentation of the Congressional Gold Medal to more than 125 Sacramento Chinese American Veterans of WWII back in Oct. 30, 2021. That medal is displayed in The California Museum

Efforts to identify, honor and recognize the accomplishments of Chinese American veterans in Sacramento are part of a nationwide campaign under the Chinese American WWII Veterans Recognition Project. Advocates were able to pass the Chinese American World War II Veterans Congressional Gold Medal Act

Through March 31, people can view the Sacramento Public Library's exhibit "Uncommon Valor, Unspoken Service," where they can learn more about Chinese American veterans in Sacramento through photos, letters, and other memorabilia from local veterans and families, many of whom are 5th generation or more. You can also watch a mini-documentary that includes interviews with four Sacramento veterans from WWII here

"These kind of events and exhibits and video interviews, books are important because the voices aren't heard. Because especially the Chinese Americans that came back to their hometowns or settled elsewhere, they didn't talk about their experiences whether they served overseas or stateside... But they served their country proudly," said Wong. 


ABC10's To The Point team honors the veterans in their lives | To The Point

Before You Leave, Check This Out