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Jim C.
Democrat CA 16

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  • Recognizing the Lao and Hmong-American Community

    by Representative Jim Costa

    Posted on 2014-12-12

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    COSTA of california in the house of representatives Friday, December 12, 2014 Mr. COSTA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and express my appreciation to the Lao and Hmong-American community in California's 16th Congressional District and across the country, especially the veterans and their families. It is important to note their historic and positive contributions to California's San Joaquin Valley and their critical sacrifices in support of the United States during the Vietnam War.

    This year, my Congressional office was pleased to once again attend the memorial ceremonies held this past May in Arlington National Cemetery to honor those who served during the Vietnam War as well as their refugee families who were resettled in America following the end of the conflict.

    Each year, since May 1997, constituents from my district in the San Joaquin Valley travel a very long distance to Washington, D.C., to help organize and host this memorial service. Colonel Wangyee Vang, President of the Lao Veterans of America Institute, of Fresno, and Philip Smith, Washington Director of the Lao Veterans of America, worked closely with members of the U.S. Congress, Arlington National Cemetery, the U.S. Army and Department of Defense, and others, to coordinate the memorial service at the ``Laos Memorial'' in Arlington. A joint U.S. Armed Services Color Guard, the ``Old Guard,'' and a U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard provide additional support for the events, which are attended each year by a delegation of Lao Hmong veterans from the Central Valley. A U.S. Army wreath-bearer and bugler contribute additional meaning to this moving ceremony. These important events, which my office has attended over the years, seek to honor the Lao and Hmong veterans and their U.S. Special Forces and CIA clandestine advisers.

    As always, I am grateful and proud of the historic and ongoing contributions of the Laotian- and Hmong-American community in the San Joaquin Valley and across the United States. We must not forget how Hmong veterans have sacrificed and struggled to help the United States during and after the war. These brave individuals have truly made the San Joaquin Valley a better place.

    Many of my colleagues in the U.S. House and Senate have been supportive of my steadfast efforts to introduce and advance the Hmong Veterans' Service Recognition Act (H.R. 3369), which continues to gain strong bipartisan support in Congress. I wish to thank the many Senators and Members of Congress for standing alongside me in this worthy effort. I must also thank the Hmong veterans and Hmong-American community, who seek to honor their veterans and historic legacy. It is my hope that this legislation will continue to progress as more of my colleagues in the Congress and the public become aware of the unique and important contribution that the Hmong people have made, and continue to make, to our nation.


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