The Americans of Chinese Ancestry Memorial, or Lieutenant B. R. Kimlau Chinese Memorial, stands in a small park called Kimlau Square, within New York City's Chatham Square in Chinatown. Architect Poy G. Lee (1900-1968) designed the memorial, which was erected in 1962 by the Lt. B. R. Kimlau Memorial Post 1291.
Second Lieutenant Benjamin Ralph Kimlau was born in Concord,
Massachusetts. When he was 14, his parents moved the family to New York City,
where Kimlau graduated from Dewitt Clinton High School in 1937. The next year,
after traveling in China, Kimlau enrolled in the Pennsylvania Military College
(now the United States Army War College) and went into the United States Army
Air Force, assigned to the 380th Bombardment Group of the Fifth Air Force in
Australia (known as the Flying Circus), which was awarded two
Presidential Unit Citations. Kimlau was among five pilots sent on a mission to
New Guinea in February and March of 1944. Their objective was to bomb Japanese
airbases in the region. While attacking the Japanese at the island of Los
Negros on March 5, 1944, all five pilots were shot down and killed.
The Lt. B.R. Kimlau Chinese
Memorial Post 1291, the largest post in New York City, was founded in 1945 by
Chinese-American veterans of World War II. The organization is involved in
numerous community service projects in Chinatown, and is responsible for the
creation of the Kimlau Memorial monument in 1962.