Connecticut the first state give Hmong and Laotian veterans burial rights


SUAB HMONG NEWS (07/02/2019) —  Connecticut becomes the first state to give Hmong and Laotian veterans the burial rights.

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Connecticut became the first state in the nation to provide the rights after Congress enacted the Hmong Veterans’ Service Recognition Act in 2018. The act provides Laotian and Hmong veterans deemed eligible by the Department of Veterans Affairs burial rights in the nation’s national cemeteries, excluding Arlington National Cemetery. It also allowed for states to extend burial eligibility to Laotian and Hmong veterans in state veterans cemeteries, like the one in Middletown.

The Laotian and Hmong SGU fought alongside U.S. troops in the Vietnam War, often rescuing drowned U.S. soldiers and working with the CIA.

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz began the ceremony, discussing her pride in Connecticut being the first state to recognize the SGU soldiers and offer burial rights. With more than 200,000 veterans in the state of Connecticut, Bysiewicz said it was time for the community to begin a program to honor World War II and Vietnam War veterans that did not previously receive thanks and recognition.

“You deserve this, your families and yourselves,” state Rep. Dave Yaccarino, R-North Haven, told the crowd, congratulating the newly recognized Laotian and Hmong Vietnam veterans present.

To Brig. Gen. Daniel McHale, who spoke at the ceremony, this is just the first step in paying back and recognizing the Laotian and Hmong soldiers. McHale called for the Laotian and Hmong veterans to receive the same medical treatment and benefits other veterans receive.