An official in West Chester Township, Ohio, took a unique step in the fight against anti-Asian sentiment by taking off his shirt at a town hall meeting to reveal war scars.
The official made his daring effort as anti-Asian violence continues to increase in the United States, including a mass shooting in Atlanta that claimed eight lives, six of them Asian women.
Investigators are still investigating whether the suspect will be charged with a hate crime in that case.
Lee Wong, 69, a member of the city’s Board of Trustees, was in a meeting Tuesday night when he decided to show the effects of fighting for the US military on his body.
Lee Wong, 69, is an Army veteran who showed his scars at a recent town hall meeting
The West Chester Township Board of Trustees member was in a meeting Tuesday night
During the meeting, he decided to lift his shirt, scarred from his days in the military
“I’m 69 years old and I’m going to show you what patriotism – the questions about patriotism – look like,” Wong said during the meeting as he begins to unbutton his shirt.
“Here’s my proof,” Wong says, lifting his undershirt and revealing a rash of scars on his chest.
“This is supported by my service in the United States Army. Is this patriot enough now? ‘
As he put down his shirt, Wong went on to talk about the strange looks he had received and how his patriotism was called into question, before referring to the constitution and his desire for everyone to be treated equally.
According to Fox newsWong is a 20-year veteran who immigrated to the United States 51 years ago.
It is not clear what war Wong was injured in, although the Journal news previously reported that Wong served from 1975 to 1995.
The Republican has also campaigned with a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat, suggesting he is a supporter of Donald Trump, who famously avoided being drafted into the military.
Wong told me Cincinnati Enquirer that he hadn’t planned ahead of time at the viral moment.
Wong served in the military from 1975 to 1995, although it is not clear where he got his scars from
“The timing was right in light of what is happening in this country,” said Wong.
‘At that moment I don’t know what happened to me. I just knew I had to say something. ‘
The member of the Supervisory Board claims to have received positive feedback for the time of the town hall meeting.
Wong also says he was attacked in the 1960s for being Asian
“People thank me for my service,” said Wong. ‘People are happy that I spoke. West Chester is a diverse community and we don’t need that kind of rhetoric. ‘
“I deliberately went to the military to learn about Americanism and democracy,” Wong said of his service.
Wong has recently seen a surge in anti-Asian sentiment in his neighborhood, including a boy pulling his eyelids back when he looked at Wong in the supermarket.
FOX19 reports that in the 1960s, Wong was also beaten up for being Asian and put him in a hospital.
“When someone comes up to me and says that to me, it’s like a stitch in my heart,” Wong said, being told he didn’t look American enough.
“ I’m always considered an outsider, that’s not right and they’re just getting bolder and bolder, ” Wong told the Journal news about people with hatred.
“I’m just afraid it might come down to what’s going on in Atlanta, sooner or later if we don’t say anything.”
Nonetheless, Wong has some hope about the society he wants to see again.
“Love each other, your neighbor, be nice, be gentle, treat other people with dignity and respect,” he told FOX19.