National Laos, Hmong Veterans Leader's Memorial Ceremonies Commence

Statement of Philip Smith, CPPA, Director, Washington, DC & Lao Veterans of America, Liaison
FRESNO, Calif. - March 13, 2021 - PRLog -- The following are excerpts of the statement of Philip Smith provided today at national memorial services honoring Colonel Wangyee Vang, LVA, President Emeritus:

Statement of

Philip Smith, Executive Director
Center for Public Policy Analysis
Washington, DC  Liaison
Lao Veterans of America

March 13-15, 2021, Fresno, CA
Memorial Services, Funeral,
in Honor and Memory of

Colonel Wangyee Vang, Founder & President Emeritus

Lao Veterans of America, Inc.

Colonel Wangyee Vang's life was a great blessing, and powerful shining light, to so many people in this world: including to his family and those in the Kingdom of Laos where he was born during the First and Second Indochina Wars; in France where he studied as a young man; to the suffering Laotian and Hmong refugees survivors in camps in Thailand who he helped after the bloody Communist takeover, genocide and refugee crisis from 1973-1975; and to those in the Lao and Hmong American community in California, Minnesota and across the United States. He was a good man, a wonderful friend and tremendous national community leader. Words cannot express his magnificent and good personality and character, and his many, many historic and far reaching contributions.

Wangyee Vang said on several occasions at keynote speeches he gave at national recognition memorial ceremonies in Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. for the many thousands of Lao and Hmong veterans, and their American advisors, who died defending their country and people during the Vietnam War: "We promised you that we would never forget you, and your sacrifices and suffering, so that is why we have come together here to honor and remember you."

I will now repeat Colonel Wangyee's words to him and you today: "We promised you that we would never forget you, and your sacrifices and suffering, so that is why we have come together here to honor and remember you."

Because of Colonel Wangyee's life and sacrifices: the honorable Lao Veterans of America organization was founded formed in 1991 in the United States, some thirty years ago; tens of thousands of Lao and Hmong refugees were saved from forced repatriation in Thailand during the 1990s, including the Hmong refugees at Wat Tham Krabok, Ban Napho, Nong Khai, and elsewhere; the "Laos Memorial" in Arlington National Cemetery was established dedicated and paid for by the Lao Veterans of America, which is the nation's first national monument to honor the Lao and Hmong veterans and their families; national recognition ceremonies were held each May 14-15 to honor the Lao Hmong veterans in the U.S. Congress and Washington, D.C.; tens of thousands of the veterans and their widows were granted honorary American citizenship under the "Hmong Veterans Naturalization Act"; and, now many Hmong veterans are permitted burial honors at U.S. national veterans cemeteries because of his work with U.S. Congressman Costa , and the U.S. Congress, on the passage of the "Hmong Burial Honors Bill."

It was my great honor to know and work with Colonel Wangyee Vang, during those many year and the 21 years he served as the National President of the Lao Veterans of America and Lao Veterans of America Institute. It has been an honor for me to serve as the Washington D.C. Director and Liaison in Washington, D.C. for the Lao Veterans of America for over 25 years, because of Colonel Wangyee.

Colonel Wangyee, I salute you and thank you for your remarkable and good life, your selfless sacrifices and sincere friendship. It was a great honor to work with you and know you. We will never forget you. Thank you for all that you have done to bless us and help us, your family and your freedom loving Lao and Hmong people, and their American military and clandestine advisors during the Vietnam War. May God bless you always, and your family and those many people that you loved and sincerely served...


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