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Senate Skylight

State lawmakers call for Hmong-Lao Veterans Day

 

APPLETON, Wis. (WLUK) -- Driving across Appleton you’d see signs that showcase the Hmong presence in the Fox Valley.

But on Monday, state lawmakers pushed for Hmong veterans to be honored.

"It’s about time we recognize the men who served our country over there. They didn’t have," said State Sen. Roger Roth, R-Appleton. "You know it’s one thing when we send our men and women to defend our country. These folks are over there, they believe in what we are fighting for, protected our pilots, helped us defeat the enemy."

"We had rescued American pilot who had been shot down by the border,"

 

Nao Shoua Xiong is a Hmong veteran. He’s just one soldier forced to resettle after the Vietnam War.

And while he was considered an enemy in his own homeland, Xiong says he served the U.S. because of trust.

"We trust our American ally," he said. "We fight side-by-side with the American CIA."

Xiong's story is one example of why state senator Roth introduced legislation to make May 14 Hmong-Lao Veterans Day.

Roth says the purpose of the legislation is to recognize as many as 1,000 Hmong veterans living in Wisconsin.

"In the future our children will grow up, and they will look for the legacy and the background why their parents bring them to this country," said Xiong.

If approved, Roth says the governor would need to sign a proclamation.

But his signature would mean more than lowering the flag.

"And that deals with encouraging our school districts, particularity our schools that have large Hmong populations among them like here in the Fox Valley," he explained. "To set aside time on May 14, to talk about the contribution these individuals have made."

It's why both Roth and Xiong say the time is now.

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