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New Hmong veterans exhibit planned for state veterans museum


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- State senator Jerry Petrowski and Governor Walker are working towards opening up a new exhibition at the state veteran's museum to honor the work of Hmong and Laotian veterans in the Vietnam War.

State senator Jerry Petrowski says Hmong veterans and soldiers were forgotten after the war and deserve recognition. "They might have been in Laos, they might have been disrupting supply lines on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, they might have been saving some of our pilots that were shot down and hiding them in the jungle so that they could be picked up. They did a lot of things and were never recognized for their service and their sacrifice."

AP International president Xiong Lo says more and more veterans die every year and their families need to know their stories from the war and afterwards. "Future generations of our Hmong children will say 'why did my great-parents come to this country?' So this will piece of history will need to be preserved and visualized, the oral preservation and storytelling." Lo says everyone should learn about their struggle. "Not only for Hmong children, but also Wisconsin children as a whole. Because there's several thousand students who visit the Veteran's Museum in Madison every year."

The exhibit will be named “Special Guerilla Forces: Honoring Hmong/Lao Veterans”. Forty veterans will be offering their stories and history of the war and the exhibit will also feature and honor General Vang Pao, the commander of the Secret Army during the 1960’s and 70’s. Petrowski is hoping to have the grand opening some time in 2015.