Commander’s Report 2001-2003
By PPC Stanley Moy
“Just a few minutes ago, I took an oath of office with my newly elected officers of the Lt. Kimlau Post. We “… pledged to perform faithfully and impartially the duties of the office in the American Legion … we are about to assume.” And now it’s my honor to stand before you wearing the Commander’s cap for the first time. I have been a member of this Post for over twenty years and actively engaged in Post activities for the last ten. I am a simple person, other than my beloved family, I enjoy times with my comrades in arms. I care about the community I live in, and most importantly I love the country that has given me freedom and democracy. I believe it is for these reasons that I proudly accepted to serve as your Commander.”
Above were the words I used four years ago when I addressed my fellow legionnaires for the first time as the newly installed commander. At that moment my intention was to serve and enjoy my time as the Commander. Little did I know three short months later, on 9-11, the attack of the Twin Towers shattered my plan to pieces. Our nation was at war and as a veterans’ organization, what do you do to support our country, our troops, and our community in this chaotic situation? I had no training in this and certainly it was not on anyone’s agenda. I really don’t know how I managed to survive my first term, but I believe it was teamwork and the trust in each other that ultimately pulled us through those dark days following 9-11.
There were many memories from that first year, I would like to highlight just a few – such as the Post’s participation in the first Independence Day Parade through the streets of Chinatown, which demonstrated Chinese-American support and love of our country. Then there was the request to hold a wreath laying ceremony at the Chinese-American Veterans’ Memorial by Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao during her visit to Chinatown in the aftermath of 9-11. Secretary Chao’s deep respect of the veterans for their contribution to this nation and her genuine concern for our community’s well being will not be forgotten by us. And finally, I must mention it was such an honor to be invited to the White House with Adjutant Fang A. Wong in May, 2002 as Chinese-American veteran representatives to join President Bush and other distinguish Asian-Pacific community leaders celebrating Asian-Pacific Islanders Heritage Month. Under any other circumstance any one of the above would certainly qualify as a wonderful memory that can last a lifetime but to me it was the attack of the Twin Towers and the aftermath that will rank as the number one event for the year. After the attack, while Chinatown suffered in more ways than any other community in the city, we witnessed our community came together and transformed overnight. Joined by the belief of benevolence and brotherhood, our community dropped individual difference and pitched-in to help – not just for our community, but help for all those suffering and in need. Under the capable leadership of the CCBA, our community’s quick reaction and responsive initiatives received the overwhelming admiration of the Government – Federal, State, and City. The Lt. Kimlau Post and our members were privileged to play a small role in this effort and we are very proud of it.
My second term as Commander was memorable too, but in a different way. Legion year 2002-2003 was the most unique one for the Lt. Kimlau Post as we embarked on a new path never before traveled by any of our members. That year we had someone knocking on the door for Commandership at the Department level and Adjutant Wong was our candidate for this high position. I was very proud to serve as Post Commander that year and work closely with so many dedicated members throughout the year to ensure our efforts were successful. The planning of a formal campaign, organizing a staff capable of handling various arrangements, set fundraising targets, and many other requirements taxed our members’ ingenuity and patience. There were several trips to Albany throughout the year for different required activities. We had many volunteers to help and we had so much fun doing it together. The support from the Chinatown Community was tremendous; many friends come out to support Fang on his adventure. The best part of the Department Convention was when Fang’s name was placed in nomination and members of the Lt. Kimlau Post led by the Chinese School Crimson Kings Drum and Bugle Corps proudly conducted our floor demonstration by marching through the aisles of the convention hall with Fang’s campaign sign. I can’t believe it took us 57 long years to get there for the short demonstration. But, I am glad we were there and I am delighted to be part of that historical event.
My two years as Post Commander were filled with fond memories of our team working together, laughing together, and yes, sharing a few tears together. The greatest expectation a Commander can ask for is the total commitment and cooperation of his staff and I had just such a staff to support me every inch of the way. I am forever in their debt – Joe, David, Ted, Bob, Wing, Kwong Y., Hong Y., Hing W., and Fang. I also must thank all our Past Commanders for their wisdom and timely guidance to keep me straight.
As we approach our 60th birthday celebration, I would like to reiterate the following to our younger members and future officers – When we took the oath of officer, we took it together as a team. We need to remember the American Legion always works as a team. We jointly accepted the trust and support of our members and it’s our duty to conduct ourselves in accordance with the high standards set forth by those served before us. The challenges ahead of us are always many, some seem to be harder than others, and many are almost impossible to tackle. But, as an old soldier from World War II serving in the China-Burma-India Theater, I learned the harder ones can be taking care of and the impossible one just take a little longer, if we work on it. I have faith in the caliber of the officers we elected. I also believed in the magic of teamwork to make things happen. As an old soldier who loves our Post, I pledge to support you in anyway I can. Service to our members, service to the Community, and service to the Legion causes are always our mandate. It’s a tall order, but working together as a team I have no doubt we will be successful. Our goal is clear, our course is just, and our future is bright!