National Laos, Hmong Policy Events Continue in Washington

News Release

National Laos, Hmong Policy Events Continue in Washington

2012-05-17 23:40:53 –

May 17, 2012, Washington, D.C.

National memorial ceremonies and public policy events are being held in Washington, D.C., to highlight the service, and ongoing plight, of Lao and Hmong veterans who served in Laos during the Vietnam War.

We have come from across the United States to pay tribute and remember our fallen soldiers who have died to secure the freedom that we all enjoy today said Colonel Wangyee Vang, President of the Lao Veterans of America Institute.”  “It is also important to remember that our people, who were left behind in the jungles of Laos, are still suffering from the causes of the Vietnam War Vang stated.

Events are continuing in the U.S. Congress this week, regarding domestic and international policy matters of concern, including veterans, human rights, refugee, religious persecution and economic issues.

On May 11, a wreath-laying and memorial service, was conducted at the Lao Veterans of America (LVA) monument in Arlington National Cemetery to honor the Lao and Hmong veterans, their families, as well as the American clandestine advisors, who served in defense of the Kingdom of Laos, and U.S. national security interests, during the Vietnam War. ..

“I am very honored and pleased that we are once again gathered here today at Arlington said Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt, a Southeast Asia scholar, journalist, and author of the book “Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, The Americans and the Secret Wars for Laos.”

“A U.S. Department of Defense Joint Armed Forces Honor Guard, U.S. Army wreath-bearer, and bugler, participated in the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery to assist in honoring the Lao and Hmong veterans and their families said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C.

“Following the official wreath-laying ceremony at the Lao Veterans of America memorial in Arlington, the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) honor guard also posted colors, and the bugler played ‘Taps in memory of the Lao and Hmong veterans and their American military and clandestine advisors” Smith observed.

“With covert American assistance, Lao and Hmong special forces operated in defense of the Kingdom of Laos and U.S. national security interests Smith commented.

Flowers were laid at a memorial ceremony held at the Vietnam War Memorial on May 12.

Event speakers are highlighting the importance of legislation (H.R. 3192), introduced by U.S. Congressmen Jim Costa (D-CA), and Frank Wolf (R-VA), to grant burial benefits to Lao and Hmong-American veterans at U.S. national cemeteries.

Event cosponsors include the LVAI, CPPA, LVA, the U.S. DOD, Army, Air Force, Arlington National Cemetery, Counterparts, Hmong Advance, Inc., Hmong Advancement, Inc., and Members of the U.S. Congress.

Speakers at the veterans’ memorial events include: Wangyee Vang, LVAI; Philip Smith, CPPA; Jane Hamilton-Merritt; Mike Benge, former POW; Hugh Tovar, Former CIA Station Chief, Laos; Toua Kue, LVA.; D. L. Hicks, U.S. Special Forces Association, Texas;
Christy Lee, Hmong Advance, Inc.; U.S. Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA); and, Members of the U.S. Congress.

The events also commemorate National Lao and Hmong Recognition Day ceremonies held annually in May.

Maria Gomez or Philip Smith
Center for Public Policy Analysis
2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Suite 220
Washington, DC 20006
Telephone: (202) 543-1444


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