Press Release: Gov. Evers Orders Flags to Half-Staff in Honor of Hmong-Lao Veterans Day, Proclaims “Hmong-Lao Veterans Day” Across the State

Office of Governor Tony Evers
Gov. Evers Orders Flags to Half-Staff in Honor of Hmong-Lao Veterans Day, Proclaims “Hmong-Lao Veterans Day” Across the State
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today signed Executive Order #224, ordering the flags of the United States and the state of Wisconsin to be flown at half-staff on Tues., May 14, 2024, in honor of Hmong-Lao Veterans Day.

Hmong-Lao veterans bravely and selflessly fought side-by-side with U.S. troops during the Vietnam War with many ultimately facing harsh retribution for doing so, including being forced to flee their homelands. These veterans are an important part of our state’s story and our history, said Gov. Evers. “Today and every day, we recognize their remarkable sacrifices, reflect upon the profound contributions they have made to our communities and our state, and express our gratitude for their commitment to upholding and defending the freedoms and values we hold dear.”

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. Today, Wisconsin is home to the third-largest Hmong population in the United States.

On May 14, 2021, Gov. Evers signed 2021 Wisconsin Act 31, designating May 14 as Hmong-Lao Veterans Day in Wisconsin, as May 14, 1975, was 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. 2021 Wisconsin Act 31 requires 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.

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 2024 “Hmong-Lao Veterans Day” proclamation is available here. 

Gov. Evers has long made supporting the rich histories, cultures, and contributions of Wisconsin’s Hmong and Asian American communities, including Hmong-Lao veterans, a priority of his administration. Earlier this year, Gov. Evers signed 2023 Wisconsin Act 205, which ensures Hmong veterans can have veteran status on their driver’s license or ID by adding to the definition of “veteran” any person who was admitted to the United States under the Hmong Veterans’ Naturalization Act. Additionally, Gov. Evers celebrated Hmong Heritage Month this year by signing 2023 Wisconsin Act 266, requiring schools to include education on the contributions and history of Hmong Americans and Asian Americans in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin law requires K-12 schools to teach Black American, Hispanic American, and Native American history. 2023 Act 266 added Hmong and Asian American histories to this required curriculum, promoting greater awareness and understanding among Wisconsin students of the histories, cultures, and traditions of these diverse communities in Wisconsin. Gov. Evers also proclaimed April Hmong Heritage Month in accordance with national observances. The governor’s proclamation can be found here.

Executive Order #224 will be in effect from sunrise to sunset on Tues., May 14, 2024, and is available here.

An online version of this release is available here.