Hazel Ying Lee, a Women Air Force Service Pilot (WASP), and her brother Vic both died serving their country during World War II. The family hoped to bury their children in a cemetery near their Oregon home, but were prevented by “whites only” rules. After vigorous protest, the Lee’s were finally able to lay them to rest overlooking the Columbia River.
WWII brought many new opportunities for Chinese in America. The U.S. repealed the restrictive Chinese Exclusion immigration laws in 1943 and many Chinese Americans enlisted in the armed forces. Yet as the Lee’s story shows, challenges and discrimination remained.