Banny Chen remembers his cousin, Private Danny Chen who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound while serving in Afghanistan 10 years ago.

“I miss his presence. We definitely feel a void every time we gather for family dinners or events. I miss his jokes that he would crack. He was always the comedian in the family,” said Chen.

As an Asian-American soldier, Chen’s family said he dealt with harassment and abuse.

“Incidents of hazing. His peers didn’t treat him correctly and it was based on his race,” said Chen.

Chen grew up in Chinatown. The corner of Elizabeth Street and Canal Street was named Private Danny Chen Way in his honor.

Elizabeth OuYang never met the soldier but has helped to organize a commemoration event that takes place every year on the day of his death.

“His death hit a raw nerve in the community. For decades our community has always been viewed as the outsider, as a foreigner, as the enemy, and never as fully integrated into America,” said OuYang.

Chen and Ouyang say that teaching others what happened to Danny is even more important now as the Asian-American community faces an uptick in hate crimes.

“Just blocks away from here a woman was shoved into a moving car. We want people to know that if we can’t get respect for our community members who fight for our country then how could we get respect for the everyday person walking the streets of Chinatown,” said OuYang.

“It reminds people that what happened to Danny 10 years ago should not be happening again,” said Chen.

On Sunday, a ceremony will take place here on Private Danny Chen Way. That ceremony will include a walking tour of Danny’s favorite places here in Chinatown.

Like Dashop, a card store Danny and Banny liked to go to.

“There was a period of time where we were really into yugioh card games. And I remember when I came here to visit Chinatown this is one of the places we used to hit up,” said Chen.

Today, Chen would have been 29-years-old. As the family gets ready to honor the fallen soldier they say they hope his story is a lesson for all of us.

“It’s very important to keep Danny’s legacy alive. It’s gonna help people understand that we are more similar than we are different,” said Chen.