The town of Bolivar, Tennessee is doing a wonderful job in honoring all its veterans with special emphasis on Vietnam Veterans that include the Hmong People who fought alongside the Americans in Vietnam. A story that appeared in two publications described what the west Tennessee town is doing in that respect. One source was The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization website story titled: Hmong: Community’s Vietnam War Veterans Receive Recognition for Unparalleled Sacrifices and the other was the WMC Channel 5 of Memphis wmcactionnews5.com website story titled: Annual Vietnam Veterans celebration featured Medal of Honor recipient that was provided by Amelia Carlson.
The DoD Fifty Year Vietnam War Commemoration Program designated March 28 as National Vietnam Veterans Day. Four years ago town leaders in Bolivar decided to start the tradition of annual celebrations to honor Vietnam Veterans. This year the event was conducted two weeks before the official celebration date of March 28. On Saturday March 4, Bolivar held a Vietnam Veterans parade before the kickoff of the celebration.
One of the highlights for this year’s event was the appearance of Major General (ret) James Livingston, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, from the United States Marine Corps. He was in the town for two days visiting and speaking at schools and veterans groups.
Another highlight of the event was the special honoring of the Hmong people for their contributions as our allies in the War. There is a Hmong community in nearby Toone and they were invited to attend the events so they could be recognized and thanked for what they did for the Americans back then. Approximately 20 Hmong people joined the celebration.
Between 30,000-40,000 Hmong were killed fighting with the United States and working to save lives of downed American pilots, disrupting supply lines, and identifying possible targets for American forces. After the war they were hunted down and put in prison camps and killed. The communists labeled them as spies and traitors. To this day the Laotian government is persecuting the Hmong. They paid the price for helping us and we should always show them our gratitude and respect.