Senators Foung Hawj (DFL-St. Paul) and Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) discuss plans for the Hmong-Lao Veterans Memorial. (Contributed photo)
ST. PAUL, Minn. (March 5, 2013) — Minnesota District 67 State Sen. Foung Hawj recently introduced legislation that would authorize public funding for the design and construction of a Hmong-Lao veterans commemorative memorial on the Capitol grounds.
The memorial would honor all Hmong-Lao vets of the war in Laos who were allied with the American forces during the Vietnam War.
“We have so few remaining Hmong-Lao veterans that the window of opportunity to honor them with this memorial is quickly shrinking,” said Sen. Hawj. “This memorial and permanent recognition is long overdue. We need to honor the folks who got us here and truly establish our new Minnesota heritage.”
The Capitol grounds for the memorial lie adjacent to the Vietnam memorial. Sen. Hawj’s predecessor claimed the land for the memorial years ago. “Every year people hold a ceremony at the reserved space. This memorial, however, lasts only a day,” continued Sen. Hawj. “It’s time we honored them 365 days every year.”
For the state to contribute funds for this project, it must have a guarantee of $150,000 in non-state resources. Sen. Hawj, who has met with project supporters, is confident that the organizations advocating for the memorial do have enough funding to work with the state.
“Many Hmong-Americans have called Minnesota their home for decades,” said Sen. Hawj. “I am proud to lead this bill and grateful for the support of Senators across Minnesota who also recognize the need to honor our state’s growing Hmong-American heritage.”