Invasion, Occupation, of the Kingdom of Laos by Vietnam Remembered At Lao Hmong Ceremonies

Published: May. 23, 2016 at 4:16 PM CDT
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Memorial ceremonies and events mourning the 40th anniversary of the refugee exodus from the Royal Kingdom of Laos, and mass killings of tens of thousands of Lao and Hmong people fleeing across the Mekong River from invading North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and communist Pathet Lao guerrillas, are continuing in Washington, D.C., and across the United States.

Community ceremonies are being held to honor Lao- and Hmong-American veterans. and their refugee families, as well as their U.S. Special Forces, and clandestine military and CIA advisors, who served in defense of the Royal Kingdom of Laos, and U.S. national security interests, during the Vietnam War and its aftermath, according to Philip Smith, of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA).

Participants in the memorial ceremonies and events being held in Washington, Arlington National Cemetery, Bryant University, Rhode Island, California, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Alaska, include the CPPA, Special Forces Association, Lao Veterans of America, Inc. (LVA), Lao Veterans of America Institute, Hmong and Lao Special Guerrilla Unit (SGU) veterans, Seri Lao (Free Lao), Lao and Hmong Associations of Rhode Island, and WatLao Buddhovath Buddhist temple. Members of Congress speaking include: U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), Al Franken (D-Minnesota), Dianne Feinstein (D-California), Barbara Boxer (D-California), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island), Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), Congressman David Cicillini (D-Rhode Island), Devin Nunes (R-California), Jim Costa (D-California), and others.

“We pray for those many thousands of souls who suffered terribly and died in the Mekong River, and in the brutal Marxist-Leninist reeducation camps, where so many were killed, during the invasion of the Royal Kingdom of Laos, by the North Vietnam Army and the Pathet Lao communists in 1975-76,” prayed The Most Venerable Bounthanh Phasavath, Buddhist Monk, former Lao veteran, who was imprisoned and tortured for nine years in a reeducation camp.

“Today, I am here to honor and thank the Lao and Hmong veterans and their refugee families who fought to defend freedom in Laos alongside the United States,” stated Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, at Bryant, whose father was U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Laos.

“Indeed, the sacrifices of the Lao and Hmong veterans during the Vietnam War were crucial,” proclaimed Senator Jack Reed.

“We are the freedom-loving Laotian people; the Lao and Hmong veterans, and people, were fighting to defend the independence of the Kingdom of Laos from a terrible invasion by Soviet-backed communist forces in Vietnam; the Lao and Hmong refugees were fleeing attacks to seek freedom,” declared KhamFeung Thoonsavath, President, Free Lao, at Bryant, and special Lao New Year ceremonies, held on May 21-22, at WatLao Buddhovath.

“The Lao and Hmong veterans were soldiers, once, and young,” said Dr. Mailee Kue, PhD., Bryant University.

“I flew missions out of Vientiane and Long Tieng, to interdict and bomb NVA attacks, and troop and material convoys, sent by North Vietnam to invade Laos along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and resupply communist forces,” recalled Phonexay Volarat, Chairman, National Council, Free Lao (Seri Lao), and T-28 pilot, Royal Lao Air Force. “We still want freedom for our Lao people, and we want Vietnam's military out of Laos, now.”

“Today, we remember the special partnership between President Kennedy and the Royal Kingdom of Laos during the Vietnam War, and the Lao and Hmong veterans and their families who sacrificed, suffered and died fighting to defend their country and homeland, in partnership with the United States, during the Soviet-Communist-backed invasion of Laos by North Vietnam,” said Toua Kue, Chairman, Hmong and Lao SGU veterans, and LVA, Rhode Island, at National Lao-Hmong Recognition Day (May 14-15), ceremonies at Bryant.

“The murder of the King, Queen, and the Lao Royal Family, as well as thousands of Royal Lao officials and Hmong refugees, in communist reeducation camps following the end of the Vietnam War, and the invasion and military attacks by Soviet-backed NVA and communist Pathet Lao guerrillas in Laos, are also being remembered,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director, CPPA.

Other organizers and participants, include Xoua Kue, Ger Xiong, Vanmala Phongsavan, and Khamphoua Naovarangsay.