Date: February 7th, 2013
)–U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Representative Jim Costa (D-California), and a bipartisan coalition in the U.S. Congress, are advancing legislation that would grant burial honors to Lao and Hmong-American veterans of the Vietnam War in Laos, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) and leading Lao and Hmong-American organizations.
“Clearly, it is long overdue and important for the U.S. government to proactively recognize and honor the sacrifices of the Lao and Hmong veterans of the ‘U.S. Secret Army,’ especially their critical and unique contribution to U.S. national security interests during the Vietnam War”
“Americans who served and fought and put their lives on the line receive a resting place in our national cemeteries; the men who saved American lives deserve the same honor,” Senator Murkowski stated.
“We are grateful that U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski has introduced new legislation in the U.S. Senate to grant burial honors, and burial benefits, to the Laotian and Hmong veterans who heroically served in the ‘U.S. Secret Army’ in Laos during the Vietnam War,” said Colonel Wangyee Vang, National President of the Lao Veterans of America Institute (LVAI), headquartered in Fresno, California.
“We continue to work, and make progress, on this important effort in Washington, D.C., to honor our fellow Lao and Hmong veterans, their families and the entire Lao and Hmong-American community,” Colonel Vang stated further. “Senator Murkowski’s bill is crucial companion legislation to a counterpart bill in the U.S. House of Representatives authored by U.S. Congressman Jim Costa.”
“We seek to provide our veterans burial benefits at U.S. national veterans’ cemeteries so they can rest with honor and dignity,” Vang commented.
The LVAI has spearhead efforts in Washington, D.C., and across the United States, in support of the initiative to grant burial honors to Lao and Hmong veterans.
“Senator Murkowski’s and Congressman Costa’s historic legislation, if passed in Congress and signed by President Obama, would authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to permit Laotian and Hmong veterans of the Vietnam War in Laos to be buried, or cremated, at U.S. national veterans cemeteries,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the CPPA.
“Clearly, it is long overdue and important for the U.S. government to proactively recognize and honor the sacrifices of the Lao and Hmong veterans of the ‘U.S. Secret Army,’ especially their critical and unique contribution to U.S. national security interests during the Vietnam War,” Smith stated. “America should grant the surviving Lao and Hmong veterans historic burial rights, and honors, at U.S. national veterans’ cemeteries.”
Smith said: “In the previous session of Congress, which ended in December, a bipartisan coalition of 32 Members of Congress in the House cosponsored the ‘Lao Hmong Veterans’ Burial Honors Act,’ H.R. 3192.”
“The Laotian and Hmong veterans’ extraordinary efforts, over the year, to host honorary national recognition ceremonies, in partnership with the U.S. Congress, Arlington National Cemetery, the Department of Veterans of Affairs, and others, remains unique and important,” Smith concluded. “The ‘Lao Hmong Veterans Burial Honors Act’ symbolizes the need to address the debt of honor still owed by America to the veterans and their families.”
Center for Public Policy Analysis
Maria Gomez, 202-543-1444