Minnesota,Wisconsin, Lao- and Hmong-American Veterans, Community Leaders, and Dancers, will discuss their plans and schedule to travel to the U.S. Congress, Arlington National Cemetery, and Vietnam War Memorial, for Special U.S. Department of Defense and Congressional Wreathlaying and Memorial Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. The press conference will discuss the Twin Cities’ Lao and Hmong community’s leadership of, and participation in, national events to memorialize the 20th Anniversary of the dedication of the Lao Veterans of America Monument (“Laos Memorial’) in Washington, D.C., to the Lao and Hmong veterans, and their families, who served during the Vietnam War. Veterans legislative efforts in the U.S. Congress, and with the new Trump Administration, will be discussed.
Date/Time: Friday, May 12, 2017, 1:00 PM
Location: Front Lawn Area, 1390 Reaney Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55106
Speakers & Cultural Dancers: Slated speakers include Mr. Pang Mang Thao, President, Minnesota Lao Veterans of America; Philip Smith, Executive Director, Center for Public Policy Analysis; Mr. Noo Vang, Vice President, Minnesota Lao Veterans of America; Colonel Tou Fue Vang, Hmong veteran and community leader; Ms. Kaying Kong, Hmong Womens & Families Association; Ms. Sunny Xiong, Lao Hmong Dancers of Minnesota.
Lao and Hmong-American veterans, cultural dancers, community leaders, and their families from St. Paul and the Twin Cities will discuss their departure on buses, planes and cars for Arlington National Cemetery and Washington, D.C. to participate in special U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Congressional wreathlaying and memorial ceremonies in Arlington and the U.S. Capitol Building, on Capitol Hill. The ceremonies will commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the dedication of first, and only national, monument to the Lao Hmong veterans and their American advisors, and families, in Arlington National Cemetery and Washington. Lao Hmong cultural dancers, and singers, from the Twin Cities will attend the press conference in St. Paul, and help lead the veterans memorial ceremonies in Arlington and Capitol Hill. The Lao Hmong cultural dancers from the Twin Cities will perform in the U.S. Congress, in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Capitol Hill, to honor the Lao, Hmong and American clandestine and military veterans of the Vietnam War who served in Laos in defense of the Kingdom of Laos, and U.S. national security interests, during the conflict. Lao and Hmong community leaders will also memorialize the deaths of the many Laotian civilians, and familiy members, killed crossing the Mekong River and the mass refugee exodus from the Royal Kingdom of Laos following the Communist Pathet Lao takeover. Flowers and wreaths will be laid and presented at the Lao Veterans of America monument (“Laos Memorial”) in Arlington, the Vietnam War Memorial and at U.S. Congressional memorial ceremonies on Capitol Hill to honor the military and civilians killed and wounded durng the Vietnam War and its aftermath.
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Senator Al Franken, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, the U.S. Special Forces Association (“Green Berets”), and others are slated to present remarks at the Lao and Hmong-American memorial and cultural ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. that the Twin Cities Lao Hmong community and veterans are participating in. Veterans legislative efforts in the U.S. Congress, and with the new Trump Administration, will be discussed.
Twenty years ago, prior to the May 14-15, 1997, National Recognition Ceremonies, and the dedication of the “Laos Memorial’ in Arlington National Cemetery, there was no national monument in Washington, or National Recognition Ceremony, to honor or recognize the Lao and Hmong veterans who served in Laos during the Vietnam War.
Note: When they arrive in Washington, D.C., on Monday, May 15, the Lao and Hmong-American veterans and their families from Minnesota and Wisconsin will take part in a special U.S. Department of Defense, Joint Armed Services Color Guard, wreath laying ceremony to mark the 20th Anniversary of dedication of the national Lao and Hmong veterans monument in Arlington National Cemetery [ the Lao Veterans of America monument (“Laos Memorial”) in Arlington / Washington, D.C.]. The ceremony also marks the fall of the Hmong “U.S. Secret Army” base at Long Tieng (Long Cheng) on May 14-15, 1975, when Laos fell to invading North Vietnamese communist forces and Marxist “Pathet Lao” guerrillas. The word “Hmong” means “Free people.” An official U.S. Army bugler will play taps in honor of the Lao and Hmong veterans and their American advisors. The U.S. Department of Defense will provide an offical wreathbearer for the ceremony.
A buses and cars, filled with Lao- and Hmong-American cultural dancers, veterans, and community leaders, are slated to depart from the Twin Cities at 2:00 PM, on Saturday, May 13, 2017, from the site of the press conference on for the long journey to Washington, DC and Arlington National Cemetery, the Vietnam War Memorial
Hundreds of Hmong and Laotian-American people are expected at these ceremonies from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Alaska, California, Arkansas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, North Carolina and across the United States.
The veterans are also urging the U.S. Congress to pass the “Hmong Veterans’ Service Recognition Act” being re-introduced in the U.S. Congress [(by U.S. Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA), Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN),and Al FrankenSenator (D-MN) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)]. The bill, if enacted by Congress and signed by President Trump, would allow Lao- and Hmong-American veterans to be buried with full U.S. military honors at U.S. national veterans cemeteries administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Contacts: Mr. Pang Mang Thao, President, Minnesota Lao Veterans of America
Philip Smith, Executive Director
Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA)
& Washington, D.C. Director & National Liaison Lao Veterans of America