KILLEEN, TX — May is Asian American Pacific Islander heritage month and this year it’s that much more important to honor them.
Neighborhoods in Killeen have strong ties to the Korean American community and that is largely thanks to Fort Hood.
Osan, Korea is a sister city to Killeen and that coupled with Fort Hood has helped to grow the Korean American population, the city and Fort Hood.
Many of whom are active-duty military stationed at Fort Hood.
”I came to the United States when I was 15 as an international student and then I joined the Army through the Army program,” said Bong Joon Chi, U.S Army Captain stationed at Fort Hood.
Cpt. Chi has been in the Army for 10 years his journey from Korea to being a U.S. Arm Officer is all part of his path towards understanding the world.
”I kind of like to look for the other opportunity to see, what can I do better, what can I do outside in the world. Not just where I’m living at,” said Cpt. Chi.
People like Cpt. Chi is why organizations such as, The Korean American Association of Killeen are doing what they can for the community.
Even with the rise in hate crimes against Asians, they are still happy to live in America.
”I do love America because America, you work hard, you do your best, regardless of race or who you are, you’re going to make it. I am an example of it,” said Yunju Park, President of Korean American Association of Killeen.
Saddened by the hate and racism towards Asians in the past year Cpt. Chi has a message for his fellow Asian Americans.
”No matter what’s happening in the world right now, whether it is bad things or good things, continue to reach out to help. Continue to reach out to understand each other,” said Cpt. Chi.
At one point the Korean American population in Killeen was over 10k, but as people aged and moved away, that number is closer to 4k.