We Salute You: Hmong, Lao Veterans of America to Kham Xiong and U.S. Army Victims
"Private First Class Kham Xiong has accomplished his honorable service to our great nation, the United States of America, I salute him and his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood killed in this terrible shooting," Colonel Wangyee Vang said on behalf of Lao and Hmong veterans from Minnesota and across the United States.
(Media-Newswire.com) - St. Paul, Minnesota, Fresno, California, Fort Hood, Texas, and Washington, D.C., November 10, 2009 - The nation’s largest ethnic Hmong and Lao veterans organization is saluting Private First Class Kham Xiong and the other 12 victims of the Fort Hood shooting in Texas. Memorial services will be held in Texas today for the shooting victims attended by their families, President Barack Obama, the First Lady Michelle Obama, and Members of the U.S. Congress, including Rep. Betty McCollum ( D-MN ) of St. Paul, Minnesota.
The Lao Veterans of America, Inc., Lao Veterans of America Institute, Center for Public Policy Analysis, Lao Hmong Human Rights Council, Hmong Advance, Inc., Hmong Advancement, Inc., Laotian Community of Minnesota, United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc. the Center for Public Policy Analysis and a coalition of Lao and Hmong veterans and non-profit organizations have joined with Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt in honoring Pfc. Kham Xiong and expressing condolences to Mrs. Kham Xiong and his surviving children and family.
Private Kham Xiong and many of his family were natives of Minnesota's Twin Cities where there are large Lao Hmong communities in both St. Paul and Minneapolis. U.S. Army Private First Class Xiong was a Hmong refugee born in Thailand following the communist takeover in Laos and Hmong exodus at the end of the Vietnam War.
“Mrs. Kham Xiong and family, I wish to express my deepest sympathy to you upon the death of your husband, Pfc. Kham Xiong, on behalf of the Hmong and Lao Veterans of Lao Veterans of America Institute,” said Lieutenant Colonel Wangyee Vang, ( Ret. ), President of the Lao Veterans of America Institute.
The Lao Veterans of America ( LVA ) is the nation’s largest ethnic Hmong and Laotian veterans organizations with chapters in California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas, Oklahoma and other states. Colonel Wangyee is a Hmong combat veterans of the ‘U.S. Secret Army’ in Laos who served defending
“Private First Class Kham Xiong has accomplished his honorable service to our great nation, the United States of America, I salute him and his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood killed in this terrible shooting,” Colonel Wangyee Vang said on behalf of the Lao and Hmong veterans from Minnesota and across the United States.
Colonel Wangyee Vang continued: “Those soldiers who are serving America and our country’s interest now and in the future, at Fort Hood and elsewhere, please take courage and do not be overcome by this bad tragedy; but instead you must focus on your missions that your military commander gives to you to be accomplished, that are the goals of our Commander-in-Chief.”
“The lost of U.S. Army Private First Class Xiong is the lost of a future young leader, he will not be forgotten,” Colonel Wangyee Vang concluded. “Again, I extend my deepest condolences to you and the rest of your family on behalf of the Lao and Hmong veterans of the Lao Veterans of America.”
Southeast Asia scholar, journalist, author and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt yesterday issued a statement memorializing and honoring Private Kham Xiong. Dr. Hamilton-Merritt has worked to assist Lao Hmong veterans and their refugee families in Laos, Thailand and the United States since the Vietnam War. http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1082639.html
"Kham Xiong joined a long line of Hmong who have chosen to serve U.S. interests," said Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt, author of "Tragic Mountains: the Hmong, The Americans, and the Secret Wars for Laos" ( Indiana University Press ).
"Kham Xiong’s father fought in the U.S. secret war in the Lao theater of the Vietnam war. Hmong soldiers, fighting under the command of Hmong Gen Vang Pao, fought the North Vietnamese communists to a stand-still in northern Laos for almost a decade," said Hamilton-Merritt.
“Kham Xiong joined a long line of Hmong who have chosen to serve U.S. interests,” Dr. Hamilton-Merritt continued. "Xiong’s father was fortunate in that he managed to escape the Lao and Vietnamese communist regimes that vowed revenge against those who fought against the North Vietnamese and their Lao supporters during the Vietnam War."
Dr. Hamilton-Merritt remembered: "I recall the words of one young Hmong soldier who helped rescue two wounded American pilots in Laos during the Vietnam War: 'We did everything we could to help the Americans. When the Americans were in trouble, we Hmong made a path with our blood to save them…'"
"We now recognize that thousands more American names would be inscribed on our Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington if it had not been for the heroism and sacrifices of the Hmong soldiers who chose to ally themselves with the Americans during the Vietnam War," pointed out Hamilton-Merritt, who was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts on behalf of the Hmong soldiers and their families trapped in Laos after the communists took over the country.
"In times like this, we feel so powerless to give aid and comfort to the dead soldier’s family. Perhaps something that we could do would be to acknowledge Kham Xiong’s Hmong heritage and to understand the tragedy that brought him to this country," Dr. Hamilton-Merritt reflected. http://www.tragicmountains.org
“The tragic shooting of Hmong-America U.S. Army Private Xiong at the U.S. Army base in Fort Hood where he and other American troops are deploying for combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, while still under investigation, maybe be the largest single act of terrorism on U.S. soil since the 9-11 attacks that killed over 3,000 people,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis in Washington, D.C.
“The Lao and Hmong veterans across the United States and their families have expressed shock and sadness regarding the recent attack and shooting of Mr. Xiong and his U.S. Army colleagues at Fort Hood,” Smith concluded. Smith has worked to help assist and honor Lao and Hmong veterans and their refugee families in the U.S., Thailand and Laos and also serves as the Washington, D.C. Director for the Lao Veterans of America, Inc. and Lao Veterans of America Institute.
On May 14-15, 1997, a granite monument and tree were dedicated, for the first time, at annual National Lao Hmong Veterans Recognition Day ceremonies to honor Hmong and Lao veterans and their American advisers at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1091987.html
The Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ) is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit research organization and think-tank focused on U.S. national security, foreign policy, human rights and refugee issues.
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