Sharon Yoo, of Kare 11 News, reports that “Remembrance on Memorial Day came with conditions for some”. Minnesota’s Hastings Veterans Monument includes the names of ‘Secret War’ Soldiers. The memorial that bears both Hmong and American names side-by-side is reportedly the first in the nation. “The United States government should have done this for us a long time ago, to educate the public but they did not do it,” Yang Chee said. Yang is a community organizer who represents the Special Guerilla Unit soldiers who fought in the “Secret War” in Laos. Bound by military secrecy, the U.S. did not officially acknowledge its role in the Secret War until 1997.
“It was called the Secret War because the whole world should not know that the U.S., the CIA established a secret war within the country of Laos,” Yang explained. “We did that for two purposes. No. 1, to protect the sovereignty of Laos. Simultaneously, the SGUs were defending the United States’ interest in Southeast Asia, primarily South Vietnam. And the war in Laos [was] kept as a secret, no one should know about it.” So for the fallen 35,000 Hmong Special Guerilla Unit soldiers, their names remained silent for years. Until now nearly 50 years later, people like Yang are seeing those names, side by side. American, and Hmong in Hastings.
“It is to my knowledge — it is the only memorial in the country to honor and to integrate the Hmong names, the SGUs with the Americans,” Yang said. “This symbolizes our friendships, our profound connections during the secret war in Laos.” While the memorial won’t fully restore the years of honor stolen from those names, Yang said it’s a start. “It’s not too late; I hope it will be more and more, there will be more SGU names coming to this memorial,” he said. Remembrance is now timeless there, with names etched in brick, under one flag. “We’re like brothers in arms again,” Yang said. “During the war, during peace time and also in heaven.”
The Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Day ceremony takes place on Monday, May 29, 2023, at the Amphitheater. The president of the United States typically delivers an address at the ceremony. Numerous military and government organizations also conduct services. All ceremonies and special events are free and open to the public. Check the Arlington National Cemetery website for details at https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/…/Events…/Ceremonies . The public is encouraged to view the ceremony and observance program live at: www.dvidshub.net/webcast/32025 .
Hosted by the American Veterans Center, the National Memorial Day Parade returns to Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C., on Monday, May 29, 2023, starting at 3 p.m., CST. The parade will be broadcast live, followed by a televised program, “Our Sacred Honor: An American Salute” airing on ABC, CBS, NBC and CW stations nationwide.
WOW, two FULL trailers full of bagged and boxed donations from families in Anoka and surrounding counties. We appreciated everyone bagging and/or boxing your items and coming out to our Clothing Drive this weekend at County Market in Andover. 100 percent of proceeds go to Veterans and/or their Families in need, within our five-plus county area. From all of us a MN DAV Chapter 39, “Thank you.” Follow MN DAV Chapter 39 for dates and locations of our next Clothing drive, and other events, on our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/MNDisabledAmericanVeteransChapter39 or check back her, on our Website.
Trent Dilks, MN DAV legislative director, was the guest speaker of last year’s Annual Leo Luskey DAV Golf Tournament. Trent did an excellent job, sharing his topic, “The importance of setting goals in both our personal lives and careers. His personal stories about health, well-being and scaling a winter mountain were well received by the tournament participants and MN DAV Chapter 39 volunteers. Dilks went on to highlight the goals and success stories the Disabled American Veterans has made for veterans and their families in Anoka and surrounding counties as well as throughout the state.
The legislative director updates us on the latest legislative news, “The session is in the wrapping up portion and we have much we can be happy with as we look towards the end. The biggest accomplishment for the Veterans community, and for MN DAV, is the passage of HF 1937, the Veterans Omnibus Bill. It had final passage last week in the House 131-0 and Senate 61-5. It awaits the Governor’s signature, which we can expect at any time. I will write more details later, but this is an historic level of support for our Veterans in the state of Minnesota.”
Dilks continues, “The Tax Committee is still working in their Conference Committee on the tax bill. There appears to be agreement on eliminating the 2-year application deadline, but in reviewing the latest offer sheets to be passed from the House and Senate are not budging on increasing the amount of the exclusion to $330,000 and $165,000. Either way it is not the amount we were looking for, but in a year where the Legislature seems to be looking to increase revenue, even a partial win may be huge. I have reached out to the members of the Conference Committee to make our stance clear. It looks like there is some movement on an all cash, bonding but not bonding type bill to fund projects. The last word I had was that it would likely include the money necessary for replacing Hasting Veterans Home.”
“HF2887 is the Transportation Omnibus and in it is language that would exempt 100% T&P Veterans from fees for licenses, plates, and more. I will do more research into this for a comprehensive review after the dust settles.”
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MN DAV Chapter 39 Clothing Drive at County Market, 13735 Round Lake Blvd., Andover, MN 55304, on Sat. May 20 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, and Sun., May 21 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Look for our DAV trailer and volunteers in the parking lot. Proceeds from the clothing drive supports area Veterans. Please bag your clothing and shoes.
MN DAV Chapter 39 & Unit 39 meetings will be held Thurs., May 11, 2023 – 6:30 PM at the VFW, 1919 Coon Rapids Blvd., Coon Rapids, MN 55433. MN DAV Chapter 39 and the MN DAVA Unit 39 have adopted Oakwood Cemetery in Anoka and is asking for volunteers to help place flags, flowers, and general cleanup on May 20 at 8:00 AM. The cemetery is located at 479 W Main St., Anoka, MN 55303.
The 7th Annual MN DAV Chapter 39 Golf Tournament, held in July, is one of our major fund-raising events to support local veterans and families. The Golf Committee could use your help in recruiting golf tournament foursome teams, identify tournament sponsorships and help with fund-raising prizes. Following this month’s golf committee meeting, updates will be posted on our website at https://anoka39davmn.com/leo-luskey-annual-dav-golf-tournament or on Facebook at ttps://www.facebook.com/MNDisabledAmericanVeteransChapter39
MN DAV Chapter 39 has planned two more Clothing Drives. May 20 and 21 at County Market, 13735 Round Lake Blvd., Andover, MN 55304, and June 10 and 11 at Walmart, 1851 Bunker Lake Blvd NW, Andover, MN 55304. Sign up to volunteer at our May meeting.
Anoka County Veterans Council is conducting two Memorial Day services on May 27. 10:00 AM at Morningside Memorial Gardens, 11800 University Ave NW, Coon Rapids, MN 55448 and at 11:30 AM at Anoka County Veteran’s Memorial Park, Bunker Hills Regional Park, Coon Rapids, MN. A picnic is planned to follow the service.
Membership drive continues with a lifetime membership at a discounted cost of $50.00.
There is nothing more important than your health and the health of your fellow members. If you do not feel well, please do not attend the meeting.