On August 24, 2016, Cathay Post #186 held a special luncheon at Palisade to honor its World War II members and celebrate their 70th anniversary.
At the end of WWII, returning Chinese American veterans formed Cathay Post #186 because discrimination prevented them from joining existing Posts. Cathay Post provided an outlet for community and community service. Over the years, the Post has assisted needy veterans, marched in parades, and still conducts the annual Hing Hay Memorial Day ceremony. It has supported Kin On, The Wing Luke Museum, the Asian Resource Center, Chong Wa Benevolent Association, the Chinese Community Girls Drill Team, Children Christmas Party, Moon Festival, the New Year’s dinner and dance, and other community events and organizations.
“Cathay Post wasn’t just a group for veterans,” said Sue Mar, whose late father Dan Mar served as past commander of Cathay Post #186. “It really supported family, community, and youth. For me the future is continuing Cathay Post as a service for veterans because we really do have a lot of veterans coming from wars. There’s still a lot of military action going on now in the world. There are still a lot of wars going on now. There are probably a lot of vetreans of Chinese decent who might want to continue a program like Cathay Post. And one of the benefits that I see is that it could be another source to helping them to identify services that they might need as veterans like the GI bill or the VA programs, or retirement programs.”
At the anniversary luncheon, the Cathay Post held its installation of officers for the 2016-2017 timeframe: Commander Lloyd Hara; Senior Vice Commander Jack Pang, who had previously completed two years of service as Commander; Adjutant Terry Nicholas; Finance Officer Richard Mar; Chaplain Richard Lew Kay; Service Officer Francis Gregory; Sergeant at arms Fon Pang; and Historian Bill Chin.
Paul Whitfield, first district commander of the American Legion Department of Washington, led the installation.
“We should all recognize that freedom has a taste to those who fight and nearly die for it that to protect it we’ll never know,” Whitfield said. “Those that served are part of the largest fraternity in the world. I’m so proud to be with veterans. It is an honor to be with fellow veterans.”
Cathay Post Commander Hara read aloud proclamations recognizing Cathay Post from Gov. Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.
Cathay Post also honored its WWII veterans in attendance with special certificates of long standing membership and decades of continuous service: Bob Harmon, Leslie Chan, Calvin Chin, William “JB” Chin, William L. Chin, James F. Chin, James Y. Leong, Tom W. Lew, Lip Mar, James Leong, and Jack H. Pang.
Ron Chew has been leading a project by the International Examiner to document Cathay Post #186, which has been together since November 1945.
“Seventy years is a hell of a long time to be together as a group,” Chew said at the luncheon. “To be as together as an organization, to be as dedicated as the group has been to community causes is extraordinary.”
Chew described how his admiration of the Cathay Post began with a photograph that late community activist Donnie Chin showed him years ago.
“My dad’s younger brother was killed in Italy during WWII, he was part of the 87th division,” Chew said. “It was really because of all the people here in the room, that I was able to find out who this person was. And so the Post really is embedded in the lives of all of us who have been part of the community.”
On Saturday, November 12, the Wing Luke Museum will honor veterans. A documentary film titled, ‘Cathay Post #186: A Legacy of Camaraderie, Community, and Patriotism,’ will make its debut. The film was funded in part by the City of Seattle’s Neighborhood Matching Fund and Cathay Post #186. The event happens from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. This event is free to the public. For more information, visit http://community.wingluke.org/page.aspx?pid=299&cid=1&ceid=562&cerid=0&cdt=11%2F12%2F2016.