Memorial honors sacrifices of Hmong-Lao veterans

A dedication ceremony was held on Saturday at the site of the Hmong-Lao Vietnam Memorial at Veterans Freedom Park in La Crosse.

Louie Ferris, the president of the Korean War Veterans Association, worked with Hmong leaders to make the statue and said most of the money for the memorial was raised by their community.

He said the statue will help young people and future generations remember the bravery of Hmong-Lao veterans.

“They fought in combat along American soldiers, and they gave up their home life, their whole way of life, everything,” said Ferris.

La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat and Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind spoke at the event. Kind said the statue is a long overdue “thank you” to Hmong-Lao veterans and their families.

“The Hmong families: You’ll never see greater pride, not only patriotism for this great nation but for their history and their culture and their friendship and alliance with us dating back to the Vietnam War. That shines through each and every day, and we are, I think, stronger, richer, more blessed because of their involvement in our community,” said Kind.

Kind said he is in support of pending legislation in the Veterans Committee that will allow Hmong-Lao veterans to qualify for veteran services.

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