LOS ANGELES—A 20-year-old Chinese man who died in Iraq while serving in the U.S. Army had wanted to be a soldier all his life, his father told RFA’s Mandarin service.
Sun Ming was killed on the outskirts of Baghdad before he had even received his permanent residency in the United States, or “green card,” making him the first citizen of the People’s Republic of China to die as a U.S. soldier in Iraq, his father said.
“We had been living in the United States, and my son wanted to become a soldier, to go and fight for his country,” Sun Hongyuan said. “So we are not complaining.”
“We live in this country, and this is our contribution.”
Sun Ming arrived in the United States at age eight, and the entire family had had problems in their application for permanent residency for many years, Sun said.
Sun Ming was accepted as a U.S. infantryman after his application was approved.
We live in this country, and this is our contribution.
“Young people all think they are indestructible, so off he went to be a soldier,” Sun said. “This country has been insecure since the 9/11 terror attacks, and my son wanted to help.”
Sun last heard from his son on Jan. 5, during a phone call in which Sun Ming said he was fine, just five days before the attack which killed him. He said he could hear from his son’s voice that he genuinely enjoyed the life of a soldier.
“He really wanted to do it. He wanted to be a professional soldier. We felt as parents that we should try to change his mind, but we still respected his wishes,” he said.
“If you are a soldier, you must follow orders. This sacrifice of our son has brought us great pain, but also a sense of pride,” Sun said.
Original reporting in Mandarin by Xiao Rong. Mandarin service director: Jennifer Chou. Translated and written for the Web in English by Luisetta Mudie. Edited by Sarah Jackson-Han.