An Asian American official, Lee Wong, is the chairman of the board of trustees for his township in West Chester, Ohio. He had a question to ask about the rise of violence against Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) citizens. In an unscripted moment during an official meeting, the veteran lifted his shirt to show his military scars received during his service in the US Army.
The powerful moment has now gone viral amid a climate rife with bias and violence targeted at Asian American individuals across the country.
At Tuesday’s Meeting of the West Chester Township, Ohio, Board of Trustees, the Chairman Lee Wong, 69, Revealed Military Scars to Call Out Anti-AAPI Sentiment.
The chairman lifted his shirt during a meeting of the West Chester Township meeting to show scars he had received during his service to the US. He did so in response to the murder of Asian Americans following the killing of six women of Asian descent in Georgia as well as a recent uptick in racially-motivated attacks against Asian Americans nationwide.
Wong, who identifies himself as a moderate Republican, opened up about coming to the US from Borneo at 18, discussing an “unfortunate event” that led him to seek a career in public service. While in Chicago during the 1970s, someone beat him up for being Asian, Wong explained.
Lee Wong, an elected official in West Chester, Ohio & @USArmy veteran with 20-years of service, took his shirt off during a town hall meeting on Wednesday and revealed scars he received during his service. “Is this patriot enough?” he asked #StopAsianHate https://t.co/3nCwTlVGxD pic.twitter.com/0R1TX3MTtp— James LaPorta (@JimLaPorta) March 26, 2021
“We went to court and he never got punished, so that changed the course of my career,” Wong shared. “I went to the U.S. Army and served 20 years in active duty. For too long, I have put up with a lot of sh** in silence, excuse me the language. Too afraid to speak out, fearing more abuse and discrimination.”
A video of the off-the-cuff comments posted to Twitter recently went viral with almost 5 million views to date.
“Don’t get me wrong, people love me in this community and I love them, too, but there are some ignorant people that would come up to me and say that I don’t look American enough or patriotic enough,” Wong said as he began to take off his suit and unbutton his shirt. “I’m not afraid. I don’t have to live in fear.”
“Here’s my proof,” he proclaimed as he stood up with his shirt open, exposing his scars. “Now, is this patriot enough?”
“Before, I was fairly inhibited,” Wong revealed. “People look at me strange, and then they question my loyalty to this country? The last I read the American Constitution, we the people, we are all the same. We are equal.”
“Prejudice is hate, and that hate can be changed. We are human. We need to be kinder, gentler, to one another,” Wong concluded.
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Wong’s powerful speech and seeing his battle scars have moved millions of people. If you feel moved by Wong’s bravery, please consider visiting Stop AAPI Hate to learn more about what you can do to be an ally for Asian Americans who have been unfairly targeted.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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