My grand-uncle Daniel Lee and his friend Ed Lee carry the flags for the colour party to help lead the procession of Chinese Canadian veterans to help begin the ceremonies for the 10th anniversary dinner for the Chinese Canadian Military Museum – photo Patrick Tam/Flunging Pictures.
When Canada was fighting WW2, the Canadian government initially didn't want any soldiers of Chinese ethnicity – even if they had been born in Canada. Several Chinese Canadians argued that they should fight for Canada and volunteered for service. This action later helped them lobby to give Chinese-Canadians the franchise to vote in 1947.
It was a wonderful evening at the 10th Anniversary celebration dinner for the Chinese Canadian Military Museum. I attended the dinner with my friends Stuart Mackinnon and George Jung. We sat with Chinese American WW2 veterans from Seattle. Peggy Lee-Wong, one of the first Chinese-Canadian women to serve in WW2, also sat with us.
Col. Howe Lee is the founder of the Chinese Canadian Military Museum. Congratulating him is Ellen Woodsworth, former Vancouver city counilor seeking re-election this fall. Both of these people are wonderful community builders, and I admire them greatly. – photo Patrick Tam / Flunging Pictures.
There was a special acknowledgement as Wesley Louie presented his father Victor Louie's military jacket to Col. Lee and the CCMM. Wesley told the story about how his father, was granted an honorable discharge before he saw service in the Korean War. Victor later went on to run the Marco Polo Theatre Restaurant, where my father painted all the show cards. – photo Todd Wong
My friend Judy Maxwell gave a short talk about the history of the Chinese Canadian Military Museum. She has done a lot of research for CCMM. – photo Todd Wong.
Here's a picture of me with some of my family: standing Todd Wong, Rhonda Larrabee, her son-in-law Franklyn Wright, Daniel Lee (sitting) my uncle Andy Mar, my grandmother Mabel Mar, and Auntie Sue – photo T.Wong/S. Mackinnon
Here's a picture of the head table with guests. Mrs. and Col. Howe Lee sit beside MLA Jenny Kwan and media commentator Gabriel Yiu. Standing is MLA John Yap in the middle, with Ellen Woodswoth beside him. – photo Patrick Tam / Flunging Pictures
Last year, John Yap MLA for Richmond Steveston invited the veterans to the BC Legislature and highlighted the 60th anniversary of Chinese Canadian citizenship. The following is from his press release re-printed on the CCMM website.
“Today, I rise to speak about a very
important cultural institution in British Columbia, the Chinese-Canadian
Military Museum. A non-profit organization established in 1998, the
military museum is located in the heart of Vancouver's Chinatown.”
Yap continues: “Howe Lee, President and Founder, had a vision to
preserve, collect and bring to light the artifacts, memorabilia and,
most importantly, the stories of the Chinese-Canadian veterans that
risked their lives in order to serve Canada during World War II, despite
the blatant racism and indignities they faced at the time.”
He concludes: “Under the guidance of Howe Lee and Museum Curator Larry
Wong, the Chinese-Canadian Military Museum proudly displays the stories
of courage, sacrifice and patriotism of those who chose to fight for
their country, Canada. I encourage everyone to visit the museum and
learn about a widely unknown part of Canada's military history.”
Read my article about the dinner event created last year to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Canadian Citizenship
Chinese Canadian Veterans dinner May 12 – celebrating 60th anniversary of Canadian Citizenship