MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers signed Executive Order #162 ordering the flags of the United States and the state of Wisconsin to be flown at half-staff on Sat., May 14, 2022, in honor of Hmong-Lao Veterans Day.
On May 14, 2021, Gov. Evers signed 2021 Wisconsin Act 31, designating May 14 as Hmong-Lao Veterans Day in Wisconsin and requiring the governor to annually issue a proclamation for the observance of Hmong-Lao Veterans Day that orders the flags at the State Capitol Building to be flown at half-staff, requests that the day be used to recall veterans’ accomplishments and to thank veterans for their service, and encourages schools to discuss Hmong military service in support of the armed forces of the United States.
“Last year, I was proud to sign 2021 Wisconsin Act 31 into law to not only recognize and honor Wisconsin’s Hmong-Lao veterans but to ensure future generations of Wisconsinites continue to learn about and understand the critical role Hmong-Lao people played in the Vietnam War,” said Gov. Evers. “On Hmong-Lao Veterans Day, we join all Wisconsinites in honoring the sacrifices and service of the thousands of Hmong-Lao veterans who fought alongside the United States and recognize the many Hmong-Lao veterans who call Wisconsin home today.”
During the Vietnam War, thousands of Hmong-Lao people courageously fought alongside the United States, and following the end of the war, faced harsh retribution from the Vietnamese and Lao governments for their service. Many Hmong-Lao soldiers and their families were ultimately forced to flee their homes and many later resettled in communities throughout the United States, including in Wisconsin. May 14, 1975, is recognized as the last day of airlift evacuation of remaining Hmong-Lao soldiers and their families from the covert headquarters in Long Tieng, Laos to the Nam Phong refugee camp in Thailand.
In addition to signing Executive Order #162, Gov. Evers has proclaimed May 14, as Hmong-Lao Veterans Day in Wisconsin each year since assuming office in 2019. A copy of the governor’s 2022 “Hmong-Lao Veterans Day” proclamation is available here.