WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Ohio — A local official in Ohio is being celebrated for a powerful speech he delivered during a board of trustees meeting last week.
During Lee Wong’s remarks about the uptick in violence against Asian Americans, the chairman of the West Chester Township board explained that he came to the U.S. when he was 18, just after finishing high school. At 69 years old, he’s lived in the U.S. far longer than anywhere else.
Soon after coming to the country, Wong said he “got beat up” while in Chicago.
“He went to court and never got punished. That changed the course of my career,” he said.
Wong said he then joined the U.S. Army and served for 20 years, but some people still question his patriotism.
“There are some ignorant people that will come up to me and say that I don’t look American or patriotic enough, now that really gets my goat,” he said.
Wong then said he’d like to show what “patriotism looks like” before the 69-year-old man took his tie off and unbuttoned his shirt to reveal large scars on his chest.
"Here is my proof. This is sustained in my service in the U.S. military. Now, is this patriot enough? I’m not ashamed to walk around anymore. Before I was, felt inhibited. People looked at me strange and they’d question me, my loyalty to this country, I ‘don’t look American enough,’” said Wong.
The veteran went on to explain how the U.S. constitution refers to “we the people,” meaning “we are all the same.”
Wong finished his remarks saying many Americans have mindless prejudices, even himself sometimes, but people can choose to change.
“Prejudice is, is hate and that hate can be changed. We are human. We need to be kinder, gentler to one another, because we are all the same. We are one human being on this earth,” said Wong.