'Is this patriot enough?': US Army veteran reveals his scars during meeting in protest of anti-Asian violence
An Ohio elected official has gone viral for his powerful remarks delivered during a recent meeting to discuss the increase in violence against Asian-Americans.
According to HuffPost, West Chester Township Trustee President Lee Wong removed his jacket and unbuttoned his shirt to reveal the scars he suffered during his 20 years of service in the U.S. Army.
Wong, an Asian-American Ohio official, U.S. Army veteran, and self-proclaimed moderate Republication, noted how people always raise questions about his loyalty to the United States due to the way he looks. "People question my patriotism, that I don't look American enough, they cannot get over this face," Wong said.
He went to offer his take on the uptick in discrimination and violence toward American citizens of Asian descent. "I don't have to live in fear, intimidation, or insults," Wong said.
"I'm 69 years old and I'm going to show you what patriotism, the questions about patriotism, looks like. Here is my proof," Wong said as he lifted his shirt. "This is sustained from service in the U.S. military. Now is this patriot enough?"
Wong added, "I'm not ashamed to walk around anymore. Before, I felt inhibited. People look at me strange, dare to question my loyalty to this country. Last I read the U.S. Constitution, we are all the same. We are equal."
Lee Wong, an elected official in West Chester, Ohio & @USArmy veteran with 20-years of service, took his shirt off… https://t.co/cEHuQvmQE9— James LaPorta (@James LaPorta) 1616793446.0
Wong expressed frustration about having to put up "with a lot of s--t in silence ... too afraid to speak out, fearing more abuse and discrimination." He recalled a harrowing experience of his own that occurred when he was just 18. At the time, Wong was hospitalized in Chicago as a result of a racist attack that happened not long after he relocated to the United States from Borneo. He noted that although the perpetrator had his day in court, he was never held accountable for his actions.
"In the last few years, things are getting worse and worse," said Wong. "People, don't get me wrong. People love me in this community, I love them too. But 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."
The Ohio official's remarks come as hearings and debates are taking place all over the United States as lawmakers mull over ways to combat hate crimes, mass shootings, and gun violence.