Posts tagged ‘Hmong’

June 4, 2015

News Release– Laos, Hmong, Vietnam Veterans, CPPA, June 3, 2015 Fall of Kingdom of Laos Ceremonies

News Release

Laos, Hmong, Vietnam Veterans, CPPA, Hold National Ceremonies

WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 3, 2015
Lao- and Hmong-American veterans, who served during the Vietnam War, are concluding national memorial and policy events including those at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC), the Vietnam War Memorial and the U.S. Congress, according to Philip Smith of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA). The somber events are being held in Washington to mourn the 40th anniversary of the fall of Laos to invading North Vietnamese Army forces of the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN), and communist Pathet Lao guerrillas.
The CPPA, Special Forces Association (SFA), and ANC Chief of Staff, Colonel Joseph Simonelli (U.S. Army), provided remarks, as did U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), Al Franken (D-Minnesota), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK). Congressmen Jim Costa (D-California), Paul Cook (R-California), Don Young (R-Alaska), Devin Nunes (R-California), James Langevin (D-Rhode Island), and Sean Duffy (R-Wisconsin) also participated.
“On May 14, Lao and Hmong veterans, and their refugee families from across the United States, arrived in Congress for meetings,” said Philip Smith, Director of the CPPA.
“Thereafter, Congress reintroduced the ‘Hmong Veterans’ Service Recognition Act’ (S. 1358/H.R. 2327), to honor the veterans, and somberly mark the anniversary of the fall of Laos, and the joint Air America, CIA, and Hmong base at Long Chieng.
“On May 15th, a special veterans’ memorial wreath-laying ceremony was held at the Lao Veterans of America monument, in Arlington National Cemetery, with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), to remember and honor all those who sacrificed, fought, and died defending the Kingdom of Laos and U.S. national security interests during the Vietnam War.
“A solemn 40th anniversary ceremony, and posting of the colors, was conducted in Arlington by a U.S. Armed Forces Joint Honor Guard, the ‘Old Guard,’ and an Army wreath-bearer, and bugler, who played ‘Taps,’ in sad remembrance of the fall of the Kingdom of Laos, and Long Chieng, to invading North Vietnamese Army and PAVN forces, and the bloodbath and refugee exodus that followed.
“The ceremony was conducted by the CPPA and Lao Veterans of America, Inc. (LVA), and was cosponsored by Arlington National Cemetery, the U.S. DOD, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Congress,” Smith concluded.
“This is a powerful reminder of the actions of the Hmong, Lao and American service members who fought together as allies during the Vietnam War,” said Colonel Joseph Simonelli, ANC.
“These courageous U.S. allies were left largely on their own as they fled the prospect of execution or deadly re-education camps that the Communists immediately began establishing, or the ethnic cleansing perpetrated against the Hmong and Montagnard. Hmong, who struggled across the Mekong, fleeing aerial bombardment, including chemical warfare, were left to bare survival in rough camps on the Thailand shore…” stated Edmund McWilliams, a U.S. Department of State officer.
Keynote speakers at Arlington include: Richard Xiong, President, Lao Veterans of America Institute (LVAI); Philip Smith, CPPA; Pang Mang Thao, Lao Veterans, Minnesota; Pasert Lee, Hmong Alaska Community; Toua Kue, LVAI, Rhode Island; Chi Neng Vang, California; SFA Green Berets (U.S. Army-Ret.) Colonel John H. “Scotty” Crerar, LTC. James K. Bruton, LTC. Ray Oden, and SGT. Jim J.E. Hooker; U.S. Air Force Majors Matthew Altman and Taona Enriquez; Grant McClure, Counterparts; and Jane Hamilton-Merritt.
President Emeritus of the LVAI, Colonel Wangyee Vang, received honors.
On May 15, a Vietnam War Memorial wreath-laying ceremony was conducted.
On Memorial Day, flowers were laid at the Air Force, Marine Corps and Kennedy monuments.
Meetings in Congress will conclude in the coming days.
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Contact:
CPPA
May 23, 2015

Press Release: Lao, Hmong Veterans Arrive in U.S. Congress, Arlington, For 40th Anniversary Ceremonies, New Legislation

Press Release:

Lao, Hmong Veterans Arrive in U.S. Congress, Arlington, For 40th Anniversary Ceremonies, New Legislation

Washington, DC, and Arlington, Virginia, May 14, 2015

Lao- and Hmong-American veterans of the Vietnam War and their families have arrived on Capitol Hill and Washington, DC to somberly mourn the 40th anniversary of the fall of the Kingdom of Laos, and the joint CIA, Air America, and Hmong headquarters at Long Chieng (Long Tieng), to invading North Vietnamese Army forces on May 14-15, 1975. Lao- and Hmong-Americans will also join with the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) and key members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives for the introduction today of the “Hmong Veterans’ Service Recognition Act” in the new session of Congress.

The bill is being introduced today in the U.S. Congress by U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Al Franken (D-MN), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and others. In the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressmen Jim Costa (D-CA) and Paul Cook (R-CA) are spearheading the introduction of the legislation along with Representatives Sean Duffy (R-WI), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU), Mike Honda (D-CA), Don Young (AK) and others. The bill, if enacted by Congress and signed by President Obama, would allow Lao- and Hmong-American veterans to be buried with honors at U.S. national veterans cemeteries administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Lao- and Hmong-American veterans of the Vietnam War and their families from across the United States have arrived on Capitol Hill and Washington, DC to somberly mourn the 40th anniversary of the fall of the Royal Kingdom of Laos, and the joint CIA, Air America, and Hmong headquarters at Long Chieng (Long Tieng), to invading North Vietnamese Army forces in May 14-15, 1975,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C.

Smith continued: “As part of the ‘Laos Freedom Ride’ commemoration, hundreds of Lao- and Hmong-American veterans of the Vietnam War and their families from Minnesota, California, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Alaska, and other states  have traveled many miles and are arriving on buses, planes and cars for events in the U.S. Congress and Capitol Hill as well as for a special veterans’ memorial and wreath-laying service on Friday, May 15, in Arlington National Cemetery with the U.S. Department of Defense.”

“Truly, I am honored to be here in our nation’s Capital, Washington, D.C., and Arlington National Cemetery, to be part of the 40th Anniversary Ceremony to honor and pay respect to the Lao- and Hmong veterans, and our U.S. military and clandestine advisors, and to help conduct a wreath-laying ceremony at the Lao Veterans of America monument,” said Richard Vang, President of the Fresno, California-based Lao Veterans of America Institute. “I want to also express my deepest thanks to the U.S. Congress for the introduction of the ‘Hmong Veterans’ Service Recognition Act’ today, when we arrive and meet with the Senators and Representatives.”

“In addition to the veterans’ memorial commemoration that we will be holding tomorrow in Arlington National Cemetery to mark the 40th Anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War in the Kingdom of Laos, I would like to stress that the legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski with Congressman Jim Costa, Congressman Don Young, Senator Dan Sullivan and others, ‘The Hmong Veterans’ Service Recognition Act’, is very important to our Lao and Hmong-American community and veterans. We appreciate them honoring our Lao and Hmong-American veterans and their families, and we are hopeful that the bill will be passed and signed into law by President Obama, so that our veterans can be buried with honor at U.S. national veterans’ cemeteries administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Pasert Lee, President of the Hmong Alaska Community, Inc. and a wounded combat veteran of the Vietnam War.

“We are very grateful to U.S. Congressmen Jim Costa, Paul Cook, Don Young, Sean Duffy, Devin Nunes, Collin Peterson and many others for their leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives for introducing and supporting the ‘Hmong Veterans Service Recognition Act’ and the events here today in Washington, D.C. Here in the U.S. Senate, we want to especially thank Senators Lisa Murkowski, Al Franken, Amy Klobuchar, Tammy Baldwin, Sheldon Whitehouse, and many others for their efforts on Capitol Hill in introducing the bill today in the U.S. Congress on this important day, May 14, just prior to our memorial service and wreath laying-ceremony tomorrow at Arlington National Cemetery at the Lao Veterans of America monument,” said Pang Mang Thao, the President of the Lao Veterans of America of Minnesota.

Pang Mang Thao is leading a delegation of some 60 Laotian and Hmong veterans, widows, and elders, from St. Paul, Minneapolis, and the Twin Cities area to Washington, DC and Arlington for the events today and Friday (May 14-15). Lao and Hmong-American veterans of the Vietnam War and their families from Minnesota, California, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Alaska, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland, Texas, Virginia and other states are participating in the events in the U.S. Congress, Washington, DC and the Lao Veterans of America monument (“Laos Monument”) in Arlington National Cemetery.

In addition to military uniforms, many of the Laotian and Hmong participants will be dressed in traditional, ethnic Laotian and Hmong tribal clothing and outfits for the events.

May 14-15 also commemorates National Lao Hmong Recognition Day, Hmong- Appreciation Day, and Lao Hmong Veterans Memorial Day, and is a day of commemoration for the Lao and Hmong people who lost their lives and country during the Vietnam War when the Kingdom of Laos fell to invading Soviet-backed North Vietnamese Army troops and communist Pathet Lao guerrillas.

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Contact:
Jade Her or Philip Smith
Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA)
Tele. (202)543-1444
info@centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org

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March 30, 2014

Minnesota: State Capitol monument to Hmong-Lao veterans is moving forward

 

State Capitol monument to Hmong-Lao veterans is moving forward

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/253056851.html

  • Article by: JIM RAGSDALE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 29, 2014 – 5:26 PM

We support the Hmong and Lao memorial for our children, so they know our history,” Vu said.

“We’re here in America, the land of freedom, because of the sacrifices made by our elders,” Yia Michael Thao, the son of a soldier who fought on the U.S. side, told the committee.

Jim Ragsdale 

The old Hmong soldier’s voice broke as he told of coming upon American pilots in the smoking wreckage of their plane or helping evacuate a chaotic CIA base as the dominoes were falling in Southeast Asia.

Xai Paul Vang, 65, of Cottage Grove, spoke in the hallway of the Minnesota State Office Building last week, evoking memories of the “Secret War” in his native country of Laos in the ’60s and ’70s.

And explaining why a patch of ground in the Minnesota State Capitol Mall means so much to him.

“Every year in the last seven years, he has come to the location where it is designated for the monument, to honor it,” said an interpreter as Vang spoke. Even if he dies before it is finished, Vang feels “his spirit will be there. That is designated for him and all the Hmong-Lao veterans.”

The past was very much in the present in the crush of legislative business a few feet away. The House Committee on Capital Investment heard a pitch for a long-planned memorial on the Mall to the Hmong and Lao veterans and their families, who have been part of the fabric of St. Paul and the Twin Cities since the wars ended in 1975.

“We’re here in America, the land of freedom, because of the sacrifices made by our elders,” Yia Michael Thao, the son of a soldier who fought on the U.S. side, told the committee.

The Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton are considering a proposal to spend $450,000, combined with another $150,000 to be raised privately, to build the memorial. This is the second go-round for the project, which once fell short of private fundraising goals.

This time Thao, who serves as finance chair for the project, said $130,000 has already been raised. It has been greenlighted by Gov. Mark Dayton and in an initial capital bill proposed by the House committee chair, Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul. It has moved through a committee in the Senate, where its champion is Sen. Foung Hawj, DFL-St. Paul, also a Laotian-born son of a Hmong soldier.

The soldiers’ story links steamy Laotian jungles with icebound Twin Cities neighborhoods. The CIA secretly recruited hill-dwelling Hmong and lowland Lao to find fallen pilots and hold back North Vietnamese troops operating in Laos. When the communists took over and U.S. allies fled, St. Paul became a beacon for resettlement.

The Capitol Mall is already a sea of stone and bronze ghosts, including Christopher Columbus and Leif Erikson (each honored as “Discoverer of America”) and memorials to veterans of 20th century wars, women suffragists, fallen police officers and firefighters and Minnesota workers. A state tally lists 20 existing memorials and statues.

2015: 40th anniversary

The new project, to be located near an existing Vietnam War memorial, would be dominated by an 8- to 9-foot bronze plant known as the “vigorous sprout,” with petals bearing images of the war, the escape from Laos and resettlement. It also will include stone walks with traditional needlework designs, plantings of Minnesota grasses and the words “Sacrifices for Freedom” engraved in stone.

If approved this year, the monument could be built in 2015, the 40th anniversary of the end of the war.

Two other centers of Hmong and Lao immigration, Sheboygan, Wis., and Fresno, Calif., have erected memorials in public places, and the U.S. government placed a small plaque at Arlington National Cemetery. It appears this would be the first such memorial on the grounds of a state capitol.

As the new generations of Hmong-Americans get further away from the wartime trauma, ex-soldiers like Charles Vu, 67, of St. Paul, want to make sure they remember how they got here. Vu said he was based at the secret air base at Long Cheng — the same one Xia Paul Vang helped evacuate — and served from 1968-75. Like his brothers-in-arms, he has many stories to tell.

“We support the Hmong and Lao memorial for our children, so they know our history,” Vu said.

Jim Ragsdale • 651-925-5042

February 26, 2014

Press Release: U.S. Senate Slated To Vote On Laos, Hmong Veterans Burial Honors Bill

U.S. Senate Slated To Vote On Laos, Hmong Veterans Burial Honors Bill, Reports CPPA

Center for Public Policy Analysis

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, D.C./EWORLDWIRE/Feb. 25, 2014 — The U.S. Senate is pressing a major omnibus veterans bill forward today for potential consideration that contains legislation to assist Lao- and Hmong-American veterans of the Vietnam War in Laos who are seeking burial rights and honors at U.S. national veterans cemeteries.

“S. 1982, ‘The Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act,’ introduced by Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT), is scheduled for a cloture vote today by the Senate and potential debate on the bill. This comprehensive veterans’ bill contains historic and important language adopted and rolled-in from earlier legislation regarding Lao- and Hmong-American veterans’ burial and honors benefits, including S. 944 and S. 200,” said Philip Smith, executive director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C.

“Unfortunately, many Lao- and Hmong-American veterans who served in America’s covert theater of operations during the Vietnam War are dying across the United States without the benefit of being recognized or honored for their extraordinary military and clandestine service.

“Having saved the lives of many U.S. soldiers and aircrews, these forgotten veterans deserve to be buried with dignity at U.S. national veterans’ cemeteries, with military honors, for their unique service as part of the ‘U.S. Secret Army’ defending U.S. national security interests and the “Royal Kingdom of Laos”, pivotal in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam conflict.

“The effort to further honor, and review, the Lao- and Hmong-American veterans’ service, is being spearheaded by Chairman Bernie Sanders, Vice Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC), Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mark Begich (D-AK), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jack Reed (D-RI), and others.

“Congressmen Jim Costa (D-CA) and Paul Cook (R-CA), along with over 30 Members of Congress, have also introduced bipartisan legislation in the House regarding granting Lao- and Hmong-American veterans’ burial honors at national cemeteries administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” Smith concluded.

“We are strongly urging the U.S. Congress, as soon as possible, to pass and help implement crucial legislation to help those Lao- and Hmong veterans still surviving from the Vietnam War, along with their families in the United States,” said Colonel Wangyee Vang, president of the Lao Veterans of America Institute (LVAI), headquartered in Fresno, Calif.

“‘The Lao- and Hmong Veterans Burial Honors Bill’ was introduced in 2012, and again in early 2013, as S. 200, by Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

“We are very thankful that legislation is advancing in the U.S. Senate and Congress to seek to grant burial honors and benefits to our veterans at national veterans cemeteries administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” Vang stated.

The CPPA, LVAI and Lao Veterans of America, Inc., provided testimony before the Senate Veterans Affairs’ Committee in May and June of 2013, during Committee hearings and markup sessions on the plight of Lao and Hmong veterans and pending veterans’ benefits legislation.

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CONTACT:
Jade Her, Maria Gomez or Philip Smith
Center for Public Policy Analysis
2020 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20006
PHONE. 202-543-1444

February 21, 2014

Laos Steps Up Security in Hmong Villages Amid Prisoner Concerns

Laos Steps Up Security in Hmong Villages Amid Prisoner Concerns

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.rfa.org/english/news/laos/hmong-security-02202014181101.html

Authorities in Laos have stepped up security in a northeastern province where ethnic minority Hmongs are concerned over the health and treatment of three members of their community imprisoned for illegal possession of firearms, sources said.

The three elderly men among a group of 14 convicted a year ago for having firearms in Xiengkhuang province are believed to be in poor health, a source in the province said.

Hmongs believe that Pa Cheng Cha, in his early eighties, and Pa Yelor and Cher Wa Lor, both in their early sixties, have not been treated well in prison and never received a fair trial after their arrest following a police raid in 2012, according to the source.

In response to the concern about their cases, authorities in Xiengkhuang, the birthplace of Hmong war hero General Vang Pao, have ordered villages to bolster their security forces to monitor Hmong people’s activities, he said.

“Each village has been ordered to step up its own security,” he told RFA’s Lao Service, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“In general, it is part of a campaign to alert people in the villages to be observant in helping the security forces,” he said.

Firearms

The three men are serving terms of between 15 and 18 years in prison, according to the local Vientiane Times newspaper.

They were arrested along with 11 others in July 2012 after police patrolling Phonsavanxay village in Xiengkhuang’s Paek district found an AK-47 rifle and 100 rounds of ammunition.

Villagers were taken in for questioning, leading to the discovery of others with rifles and handguns only police or soldiers are allowed to possess, according to the newspaper.

Of the 11 other men, five were sentenced to 15 years in prison and six given one-year terms.

According to the paper, Pa Cheng Cha, Pa Yelor,  and Chea Wa Lor are serving imprisonment of 18, 17, and 15 years respectively.

Opposition

Lao authorities have long been wary of opposition among the Hmong, many of whom say they face persecution from the government because of their Vietnam War-era ties with the United States.

Thousands of Hmong fought under CIA advisers during a so-called “secret war” against communists in Laos.

General Vang Pao, who spearheaded the 15-year CIA-sponsored war, died in the United States in 2011 at the age of 81.

The outspoken opponent of the Lao government emigrated to the United States after the communists seized power in his country in 1975.

Reported by RFA’s Lao Service. Translated by Somnet Inthapannha. Written in English by Rachel Vandenbrink.

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