“An American Soldier,” which opens June 3 at Opera Theatre of St. Louis , is based on the true story of Pvt. Danny Chen. The American-born son of Chinese immigrants, he joined the U.S. Army in 2011 rather than accept a college scholarship: He wanted to prove that he was a real American, a real part of the community.
Instead, stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, he was brutally hazed in a blatantly racist manner. Later that year, after beatings and harassment, Danny shot himself . On his arm, he’d written, “Tell my parents I’m sorry.”