WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--National ceremonies and public policy events are being held in Washington, D.C., regarding Laos and Vietnam.
The U.S. Congressional Forum on Laos and Vietnam continues on Capitol Hill following earlier veterans’ memorial services.
Topics of discussion in the U.S. Congress include: economics; trade; hydroelectric dam projects, human rights; religious persecution; refugees; and, veterans’ issues.
“Our people, who were left behind in the jungles of Laos, are still suffering from the causes of the Vietnam War,” said Colonel Wangyee Vang, President of the Lao Veterans of America Institute.
“We have come from across the United States to pay tribute and remember our fallen soldiers who have died to secure the freedom that we all enjoy today,” Vang stated.
“The plight of Lao, Hmong and Vietnamese political and religious dissidents remains of concern to policymakers,” said Philip Smith, Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C. “This includes the status of allied veterans who served in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, and their refugee families still suffering in Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam.” http://www.centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org
“It is also important to note that an official wreath-laying and memorial service, was conducted at the Lao Veterans of America (LVA) monument in Arlington National Cemetery, on May 11, to honor the Lao and Hmong veterans, their families, as well as the American clandestine advisors, who served in defense of the Kingdom of Laos, and U.S. national security interests, during the Vietnam War,” Smith continued.
“A U.S. Department of Defense Joint Armed Forces Honor Guard, U.S. Army wreath-bearer, and bugler, helped lead the ceremony,” stated Smith.
“Following the wreath-laying ceremony at the LVA memorial in Arlington, the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) honor guard also posted colors, and a bugler played ‘Taps’, in memory of the Lao and Hmong veterans and their American military and clandestine advisors…,” Smith commented.
“I am very honored, and pleased, that we are once again gathered here…,” said historian Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt.
Flowers were laid at a memorial ceremony held at the Vietnam War Memorial on May 12.
Participants discussed H.R. 3192, legislation introduced by U.S. Congressmen Jim Costa (D-CA) and Frank Wolf (R-VA), to grant burial benefits to Lao and Hmong-American veterans at U.S. national cemeteries.
Arlington memorial service cosponsors include: LVAI; CPPA; LVA; the U.S. DOD; Army; Air Force; Arlington National Cemetery; Counterparts; Hmong Advance, Inc.; Hmong Advancement, Inc.; and, Members of the U.S. Congress.
Speakers, and those providing statements, at the Arlington ceremonies include: Wangyee Vang, LVAI; Philip Smith, CPPA; Mike Benge, former POW; Hugh Tovar, Former CIA Station Chief, Laos; Toua Kue, LVA; Jane Hamilton-Merritt; D. L. Hicks, U.S. Special Forces Association; Christy Lee, Hmong Advance, Inc.; U.S. Congressman Jim Costa; and, other Members of the U.S. Congress.
The events also commemorate National Lao and Hmong Recognition Day, and Vietnam Human Rights Day, marked annually in May.