Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Hmong American soldiers

Hmong Today has a good article on the Hmong Americans who are serving in Iraq and their link to the Hmong soldiers that fought on behalf of the US during the CIA's "secret war."

I thought that this was a very moving article and describes the legacy and history of the elders being passed onto a new generation.

History was in the making both as Americans and Hmong. The young troops added to the legacy of Hmong on the battlefields, brave younger soldiers who put their lives on the line to fight for freedom. "Your sons and daughters, new to America, put on their uniforms and served us again," commended U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum. When McCollum requested the honored troops as well as veterans to rise from their seats, one glance around the room proved that at that moment, a link in history was being created between the elders who could recount the Secret War via memory and their children who came years later but were being honored that day.

In the past, the Hmong served the U.S. as allies, this time, they served as citizens who honored their country. "To you men and women, I am awestruck. We are so fortunate for you. We are fortunate for your parents that they came to this country. We are one as Americans," acknowledged former Gov. Al Quie who expressed his appreciation for the Hmong, both as service personnel and community members.

"People who have suffered bring something that people who haven’t don’t know," Quie continued. "You cherish freedom and human rights, because of what you experience, not what you read. That’s what you’re bringing to us, a wonderful, wonderful strength of character…. Tell those stories to your children, but tell it to us too because we can learn from it too."

Indeed the troops who were honored Sunday brought back to the states experiences that could open the doors to greater understanding and advancement. Not only did they voluntarily put their lives on the line to protect, they took on toil and hardship to return home, and guide. And yet many of these humble service personnel repeat to others what was said to State Sen. Mee Moua. The microphone in her hand, Moua tilted her head and glanced over at the 25+ troops seated to her left, "I know that you didn’t do it to be a hero," she explained and paused as the thoughts of unknown danger and sacrifice passed through the minds of audience members, "Many of you said ‘I’m doing this ma’am, because it is my job.’"

One Hmong-American soldier has died in Iraq, Qixing Lee. He lost his life in battle last year.

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  • At 2:14 PM, Blogger Hmong Journey said…

    Our new generation of Hmong men and women in uniform have always been truth to the American's cause: defending freedom and democracy around the world. I just hope that our government will not abandoned us as they did to our fathers, brothers and mothers during the Secret War in Laos, 1961-1975. Our loyalty is American's loyalty. We have not forgotten each American soldier whose live was saved inside Laos. Let us not repeat the past, but heal the past and honor truthfully and faithfully of our current men and women in uniform.

    -- Noah Vang, St. Paul, Minnesota

  • At 4:43 AM, Blogger powerpolitics said…

    Thanks, it's my hope that our government won't abandon the Hmong American soliders now, and that we can have veterans' equity for the ones who served before. Veterans' equity for the Filipino American veterans too.

    Unfortunately right now under Bush's administration, VA services and benefits have been cut for all veterans. I believe that under a Democratic administration, we can reverse these cuts.


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