ST. PAUL (July 16, 2014) — State Sen. Foung Hawj (DFL-St. Paul) joined Gov. Mark Dayton at the Veterans Services Building in St. Paul this Wednesday, July 16 for a ceremonial bill signing for the Hmong-Lao Veterans Memorial.
The memorial – more than a decade in coming received its full bonding request ask of $450,000.
Sen. Hawj was joined by Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul), WaChong Vang who is the son of General Vang Pao, as well as many other leaders from the local Hmong-Lao community.
“The Hmong-Lao Veterans Memorial is a project that is deeply personal for the entire Hmong community and I’m so happy I could help bring it to fruition,” said Sen. Hawj. He added, “As members of our community who helped fight in the Vietnam War are quickly dying out, it’s important to build this memorial as a tribute to their sacrifices, and as a reminder to younger generations of what freedom costs and how we came to live in Minnesota.”
The Hmong-Lao Veterans Memorial is currently undergoing a few more months of design work. According to planning documents the small size of the memorial requires simplicity. The goal of the design is to create a simple, beautiful bronze sculpture in the form of a leafy bud that will draw people in by its loveliness.
The Minnesota Capitol Architecture Planning Board says it anticipates a spring of 2015 groundbreaking date.
U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), commended the efforts of the Hmong-American community in ensuring that the state builds a permanent monument to honor the Hmong-Lao veterans who fought on behalf of the United States in Laos during the Vietnam War.
“This country owes a great debt to these Hmong veterans who were responsible for saving the lives of so many American soldiers and pilots.” Franken said. “This recognition is long overdue and I look forward to celebrating its completion in the spring of 2015.”