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Laos, Hmong Veterans National Conference Events Conclude
U.S. national policy, social and cultural events conclude in Minnesota.
Events and meetings following the 4th annual Lao Hmong Veterans National Conference held from July 12 until August 11-12, 2019, in St. Paul, and Minneapolis, are concluding. Activities at the Lao Family Community of Minnesota, Inc., the Minnesota Lao Veterans of America (LVA) headquarters, the Hmong House in Maplewood, SUAB Hmong News, Hmoob Twin Cities, LLC , Hmong HBCTV are ending. The events have brought together Lao- and Hmong-American community and veterans leaders, and their refugee families from across the United States, including delegations from Minnesota, Wisconsin, California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Georgia, Virginia, Florida, Alaska and other states. One focus of the conference, and follow-on events, is the implementation and potential legislative expansion of the Lao "Hmong Veterans Service Recognition Act" which allows Lao- and Hmong-American veterans who served in the U.S. Secret Army in Laos during the Vietnam War, and their spouses, to be buried or cremated at US national veterans cemeteries administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). The bill was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump in 2018. It is now being implement by the U.S. DVA. Legislative efforts recently undertaken in Congress further expanding veterans' burial honors benefits eligibility to the Hmong and Lao veterans, and widows, are being discussed further.
The events and Lao Hmong Veterans National Conference are sponsored and hosted by the Minnesota LVA, the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) of Washington, D.C., and the Lao Family Community of Minnesota.
"Lao- and Hmong-American veterans and community leaders from across the United States have traveled to St. Paul and the Twin Cities in Minnesota to discuss important national issues that impact our communities and families, especially the current implementation and developments regarding the newly passed Lao 'Hmong Veteran' Service Recognition Act'," said Pang Mang Thao, President of the Minnesota LVA. "We traveled to Washington, D.C., the U.S. Congress, and Arlington National Cemetery many times in recent years to honor our Lao- and Hmong-American veterans who served in combat alongside U.S. military and clandestine forces defending the Royal Kingdom of Laos during the Vietnam War and now we are organizing a national conference once again in Minnesota to discuss these important and critical issues."
"We should continue to work together in Washington and the U.S. Congress, as well as with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and other policymakers, so that all Lao- and Hmong-American veterans can be fully honored and buried at U.S. national veterans cemeteries administered by the DVA and state veterans cemeteries,"
The Lao Hmong Veterans National Conference public policy events were followed by an evening reception, dance and cultural dancing events as well as high-level meetings and social events at the Hmong House, Lao Family Community, Hmong Village, Minnesota LVA Headquarters, SUAB Hmong News offices, Hmoob Twin Cities, LLC, Hmong American Mediation Center, Minnesota Public Radio and St. Paul Pioneer Press offices, and the homes and offices of community leaders and American policymakers.
Speakers and participants at the events include: Mr. Pang Mang Thao, President, Minnesota Lao Veterans of America; Philip Smith, Washington, D.C. Director, CPPA and Washington Director, LVA; Chager Xiong, Hmong veteran, and Vice President, Minnesota LVA; Sue Lee, President, Lao Family Community of Minnesota, Inc.; Chong Vang, elder son of Major General Vang Pao; Major Cheurchai Vang, National President, LVA, California; Mr. Tong Vue, Hmong veteran and President, LVA, Arkansas; Bob Fletcher, Sheriff, Ramsey County; Boua Tong Xiong, President, Lao Hmong SGU , Connecticut;