Crowds gathered in Chinatown Friday to remember the Asian-American soldier who took his own life while serving in Afghanistan.
U.S. Army Private Danny Chen died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on October 3, 2011 in Kandahar Province.
Following the incident, eight soldiers faced court martials for racially hazing the 19-year-old.
The death of the Chinatown native sparked national outcry and changes in the Armed Forces.
“Obama, actually, though this work that gained national attention, has actually signed anti-hazing legislation,” said Dr. Wah Lee of Asian Pacific American Advocates. “We as an organization, OCA New York, we have spoken with the Pentagon, and it seems like they have implemented policies based on the work that we have done.”
“He always wanted to join the army, and on this day, we want the community to remember him and let his legacy [continue] to carry on so this brutality will not be repeated in the army,” said Sookling Lai, Danny Chen’s teacher.
The gathering, and a moment of silence, took place on “Private Danny Chen Way,” located at the corner of Elizabeth and Canal streets. The street was named in his honor in May.