Governor Evers designates May 14th Hmong-Lao Veterans Day

Published: May. 14, 2021 at 12:10 PM CDT|Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 6:27 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - May 14th is officially designated as Hmong-Lao Veterans Day in the state of Wisconsin.

Governor Evers signed Assembly Bill 154 into law Friday morning, making the designation official. The purpose is to honor those in the Hmong-Lao community who fought in the Vietnam war alongside American troops.

In a 2020 proclamation by Governor Evers, it is stated that during the war, “the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and United States Armed Forces recruited, organized, trained, and assisted Hmong-Lao forces to combat the North Vietnamese Army and communist Pathet Lao forces.”

On May 14th of 1975, the last of the Hmong-Lao soldiers and their families fled Laos to a refugee camp in Thailand. They later sought asylum and citizenship in the United States.

“They fought with courage and conviction, risking their lives for their independence. But in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, many were targeted and faced retributions from the Vietnamese and Lao governments for their service,” said Governor Evers.

The Governor wants to use this day to reflect on the veteran’s sacrifices, which he says are too often overlooked.

“It’s no secret that this past year has been especially difficult for Asian American and Pacific Islander communities who’ve experienced increased and racialized words, actions and violence. So it’s not only important that we recognize the dedicated service of the Hmong-Lao Veterans who risked their lives in the Vietnam War and of course their families made in coming to the United States, it’s also critical that we ensure that future generations understand this sacrifices these individuals made in service,” told Governor Evers.

There are chapters of the Wisconsin Lao Veterans of America (WLVA) established throughout Wisconsin. These chapters work to educate the public about the historic contributions of their people. The WLVA and Senator Jerry Petrowski were some of the primary advocates for the legislation and helped in getting it passed.

American and Wisconsin flags are also being flown at half-staff Friday to honor the 46th anniversary of the last day of airlift evacuations of the Hmong-Lao people.

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