SAN FRANCISCO, June 13 (Xinhua) -- San Francisco is joining a national effort to support two Congressional bills to award Chinese American World War II veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal.
The city's board of supervisors unanimously passed a resolution late Tuesday, calling on the U.S. Congress to expeditiously pass the two bills.
The bills, which were introduced to the House of Representatives and the Senate in May 2017, have been stalled at respective committees ever since.
Copies of the resolution will be transmitted to the members of the U.S. House of Representatives from the San Francisco Bay Area and the U.S. Senators from California with a request to take all necessary actions to achieve the objectives of the resolution.
Norman Yee, a supervisor of the city and author of the resolution, said it's time to honor those Chinese Americans who served the United States because most of them, now in their 90s, may not be able to live to witness the ceremony of recognition.
More than 13,000 Chinese Americans served in all branches of the Army Ground Forces and Army Air Forces by the end of World War II, though the total population of Chinese Americans living in the United States was under 120,000, according to the resolution.
Nearly 25 percent of enlisted Chinese Americans served in the U.S. Army Air Force and many were assigned to the 14th Air Service Group, which was composed of primarily Chinese Americans based in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater.
In the CBI Theater, they provided effective communications, supplies, transportation and technical support to advance the war efforts.
Despite their valor and heroism, the Chinese American soldiers faced institutional racism and prejudice, especially as The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 continued to restrict Chinese immigration to the United States till 1943.
"Many struggles lay ahead, they (Chinese Americans) had answered the call to service and, in so doing, a great Chinese American generation had staked a big claim to a legitimate share of the American Dream," said Doug Chan, vice president of the Chinese Historical Society of America.
Earlier this year, the Congress awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor in the United States, to Filipino and Filipino American soldiers who fought in World War II to memorialize their service and sacrifice.
"I believe it's only right to bestow this same recognition upon those Chinese citizens and Chinese American soldiers who also made such enormous sacrifices," said Jackie Speier, a Congresswoman and a co-sponsor of the House bill, in a letter to support the resolution on Tuesday.
"Time is running out. We must recognize these individuals while they are with us, and the memory of their enormous sacrifices alive once they pass," said Speier.