Resolution designates May 14 as Hmong Day, recognizes service, sacrifice of combat soldiers

LANSING, Mich., May 10, 2018 — Sen. Steve Bieda (D–Warren) and Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D–Taylor) today introduced a resolution that declares May 14, 2018 as Hmong Day in Michigan. Hmong Day recognizes the Hmong combat soldiers who served from 1961-1975, in the Secret War of Laos, during the Vietnam War.

“Hmong soldiers were recruited, paid and trained by American CIA officers, who needed their help to fight communism in Laos, where North Vietnamese forces were operating but U.S. forces were forbidden by Congress to enter,” Sen. Bieda said. “This resolution is in recognition of their willingness to put their lives on the line, so that Americans could return from Vietnam.”

The Hmong Special Guerrilla Unit veterans, or SGUs, were vital during the Secret War in Laos by providing intelligence and troops to one of the nation’s largest operations, rescuing American soldiers and blocking North Vietnam from using the Ho-Chi Minh trail to South Vietnam. It is estimated that at least 35,000 Hmong SGUs were killed during the Secret War.

On May 14, 1975, the last American CIA workers withdrew from Laos, and the Hmong veterans began their journey to freedom and safety. More than 100,000 Hmong veterans and their families fled to the U.S. where they were provided with political asylum, refugee status and citizenship through the Hmong Veterans’ Naturalization Act of 2000 because of their unique contribution to the U.S. The remaining Hmong population in Laos have been victims of ongoing retaliation, murder and genocide since the conclusion of the war.

“It’s time we recognize Hmong veterans who uprooted their lives and put everything on the line to prevent the spread of Communism,” Sen. Hopgood said. “The danger didn’t end when the war was over; Hmong veterans faced persecution for their role in the war, and this resolution will show our eternal gratitude for going above and beyond the call of duty.”

The resolution was adopted by the Senate.

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Above photo: Sen. Steve Bieda (D–Warren) and Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D–Taylor) pose for a photo at the rostrum in the Michigan Senate chamber with Hmong combat veterans who served from 1961-1975 in the Secret War of Laos. The senators have introduced a resolution that declares May 14, 2018 as Hmong Day in Michigan.