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Colonel Simonelli Speaks at Laos, Hmong, Vietnam Veterans Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery
Colonel Joseph Simonelli, U.S. Army, Chief of Staff of Arlington National Cemetery, spoke at the Lao Veterans of America Monument for the 40th anniversary veterans' memorial wreath-laying ceremony mourning the fall of the Kingdom of Laos.
The following is the text of the statement issued by Colonel Joseph "Joe" Simonelli, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, Arlington National Cemetery, for the 40th anniversary wreath-laying ceremony mourning the fall of the Royal Kingdom of Laos at Arlington National Cemetery, on May 15, 2015. The special memorial ceremony was hosted by the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA), Lao Veterans of America, Inc. (LVA), Arlington National Cemetery, the U.S. Department of Defense, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Members of Congress:
Statement of Colonel Joseph Simonelli, U.S. Army, Chief of Staff,
Arlington National Cemetery
at the Lao Veterans of America Monument
May 15, 2015
40th Anniversary Veterans' Memorial Wreath-Laying Ceremony for Lao and Hmong Veterans Commemorating the fall of the Kingdom of Laos and the end of the Vietnam War in Laos.
Arlington National Cemetery
Military District of Washington, DC
Members of Congress, Fellow Veterans, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Thank you for that welcome and introduction, and your participation today at this important ceremony.
I want to express my thanks to Mr. Philip Smith, Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) and the National Liaison and Washington, D.C. Director of the Lao Veterans of America, Inc., for his kind introduction today, as the master of ceremonies. We appreciate his important efforts over the years, and especially for working with us, and others in Washington, to organize and host this special 40th anniversary ceremony today at the “Laos Monument” dedicated by the Lao Veterans of America, Inc. I also want to thank all of the Lao- and Hmong-American veterans gathered here today for their service during the Vietnam War in Laos.
Welcome to Arlington National Cemetery.
I am Colonel Joe Simonelli, the Chief of Staff of the Cemetery.
On behalf of Mr. Patrick Hallinan, who serves as the Executive Director of the U.S. Army National Military Cemeteries, and Jack Lechner, Superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery, welcome to Arlington National Cemetery.
Arlington National Cemetery is an amazing place to work. We conduct up to 30 funeral ceremonies every weekday and up to 10 on Saturdays. That is our primary mission, the final resting place for veterans and their families. We have over 400,000 individuals interred or memorialized on our grounds consisting of service members from the American Revolution to the present day. We also host over 40 million visitors each year and conduct over 3,000 ceremonies, such as this one.
This week is an especially important week for us. Wednesday, May 13, represented the 151st anniversary of Arlington becoming a military cemetery.
Today, we also commemorate the anniversary of the dedication of the Hmong and Lao combat veterans, and their American advisors, memorial tree and plaque.
It is an honor for me, Mr. Lechner, Mr. Hallinan, and the entire staff of Arlington National Cemetery to host this commemorative event.
This event is a powerful reminder of the actions of the Hmong, Lao, and American service members who fought together as allies during the Vietnam War.
Again, welcome to our Country's National Shrine and most sacred and hallowed grounds. We are honored with your presence with us today.
Christy Lee or Philip Smith
Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA)
The Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA), or Centre for Public Policy Analysis, is a Washington, DC-based, non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental think tank and research organization, which focuses on international relations, national security, development, humanitarian and refugee issues. The Center is dedicated to research, analysis and education about many of the key public policy issues of our time. The CPPA brings important new ideas, information and experience to the public affairs arena in the U.S. and internationally, including the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.
CPPA - Center for Public Policy Analysis