Roger Whitfield, National Association of Black Veterans, Honor Laos, Hmong Veterans at Arlington
Roger Whitfield and a senior delegation from the National Association of Black Veterans, honored Lao, Hmong and Vietnam Veterans in national veterans' ceremonies held at Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam War Memorial
Statement of Roger Whitfield,
National Association for Black Veterans (NABVETS)
the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Army Wreath Laying Ceremony
Lao Veterans of America Monument, Laos Memorial
Arlington National Cemetery
May 15, 2019
Members of Congress, Government Officials, Fellow Veterans, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am Roger Whitfield and I am a combat infantry soldier of the Vietnam War era. First, I would like to thank my good friend, Mr. Philip Smith, Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA), and National Liaison for the Lao Veterans of America, for inviting me to serve in, and share in, this solemn and honorable anniversary commemoration and celebration here in
Arlington National Cemetery. Thank you my friend
I salute tha families and friends represented here today. I also thank the warriors of that era and their advisers, trainers and administrators. Thanks also to the government officials and their representatives who came out today to take part and show their support ! I must pause before I enter my remarks, first to say "Good Morning" to my mother, Francis Luovenia Whitfield, who was buried in Section 27, here at Arlington National Cemetery, in 1951 when I was 14 months old, and also to my father, John Whitfield, a World War II veteran, who, traumatized by war, died and was buried in Section 33 in 1962. I have never seen their faces, but I know they both loved me.
This is the fourth time, the fourth year, that I am here with you to help honor and recognize the valiant and courageous efforts of so many of the Lao and Hmong people who gave so much to help our cause during the Vietnam War and trying to assist the fight against the infiltration of communism into Southeast Asia. They, the Lao and Hmong people, suffered great losses and saved many of our lives; and because of their cooperation with us, they paid very harsh penalties.
I sincerely feel that we, as veterans, and we as a nation, owe them a great debt of gratitude. We want our veterans to receive the same recognition and benefits that we are offered and receive, and we are going to support your efforts to secure these, including the right to be buried in National VA Veterans' Cemeteries nationwide, as well as healthcare, education, and disability compensation!
The first three times I participated and spoke at your veterans' memorial ceremonies here in Arlington, I brought only myself. This time I did not !!! With me today is a small representation of the thousands of members of the National Association for Black Veterans (NABVETS) who work in support of ALL VETERANS !! And, we assure you that: "YOU WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN !"
Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA)
Helen Cruz or Christy Lee