Mercer Island Mayor Benson Wong approved five proclamations at the Aug. 31 city council meeting regarding Chinese American World War II veterans, child cancer awareness, emergency preparedness, national recovery and national suicide prevention awareness.
Wong’s father was one of nearly 20,000 Chinese Americans who served in the United States military during WWII despite being subjected to the U.S. Chinese Exclusion Act and other discriminatory laws.
Pulling the proclamation off the consent calendar to acknowledge his father and to address it more in depth, Wong noted that his father was in the Philippines when the war ended, and he proclaimed Nov. 13 as Chinese American WWII Veterans Day on Mercer Island. He added that an event to honor the Chinese American Washington residents who served in WWII is planned for Nov. 13 at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue.
With Veterans Day on the horizon on Nov. 11, Wong spoke of current events: “Given what’s happened in Afghanistan during the past several weeks, and the recent bombings at the airport that cost the lives of 13 more Americans in uniform and over 170 innocent Afghans, I encourage all of us to remember and thank the current members of our Armed Forces every day for their service performed in harm’s way.”
In continuing his gratitude, Wong included members of the military who have taken part in humanitarian relief efforts in areas impacted by Hurricane Ida, along with people who have served the U.S. in the past, including councilmember Jake Jacobson.
Wong also proclaimed September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Emergency Preparedness Month, National Recovery Month and National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month on the Island.
One proclamation reads that there are hundreds of children being treated for cancer in Washington at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Mary Bridge Hospital in Tacoma and Shriners Hospitals for Children in Spokane.
On the emergency preparedness front, residents are encouraged to make a plan, build a kit, host a preparedness meeting for neighborhoods and businesses and talk with children about disaster preparedness.
The recovery proclamation states that, “We must encourage relatives and friends of people with mental and/or substance use disorders to implement preventive measures, recognize the signs of a problem, and guide those in need to appropriate treatment and recovery support services.”
In the final proclamation regarding suicide prevention awareness, the Mercer Island Youth and Family Services Department is mentioned along with the National Alliance on Mental Illness and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for their work to help individuals and provide resources to shed light on this highly stigmatized topic.