They fought alongside the United States in the Vietnam War, risking life and limb.
Yet no state has ever allowed them to be buried at national cemeteries until now.
Conneticut this week became the first state in the nation to grant members of the Hmong and Laotian Special Guerilla Unit burial rights, reports the Middletown Press. It’s a sign of recognition they have been seeking for decades.
“Our Vietnam veterans fought a protracted, unconventional war that unfortunately became mired in a political morass in Washington,” Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Thomas Saadi said. “When they came home, they had to fight a second war. They suffered the insults and attacks of politicians and the public, but still they persevered.”
77-year-old Gen. Sar Phouthasack participated in the ceremony announcing the change.
“I’m so happy, I woke up at four this morning,” Phouthasack told the Stars and Stripes. “This is my country,” Phouthasack said. “I don’t know how to thank this country for what it has given to me, so many opportunities.”
This all came possible after Congress passed the Hmong Veterans’ Service Recognition Act in 2018.
One Brigadier General called for veteran organizations to welcome Hmong veterans as their brothers.
We need to get federal veterans associations to recognize (the Laotian and Hmong veterans) have the same issues we do,” Daniel McHale said to Stars and Stripes. “They were exposed to Agent Orange.”