This year’s final Old Glory Honor Flight recognized 20 Hmong veterans, alongside other vets, underscoring their significant contributions to the U.S. during the Vietnam War.
Fitting tribute: The Hmong Vietnam servicemembers joined 78 veterans who served in various wars and were flown from the Appleton International Airport on Oct. 18 to visit war memorials in Washington, D.C., reported WLUK.
The honorees arrived to cheers and applause upon their return to the Appleton International Airport. The returning heroes were also greeted with signs, balloons and a crowd waving American flags.
The Hmong’s Vital Role: The Hmong soldiers played a pivotal role during the Vietnam War as they were enlisted by the CIA to support American ground troops in the conflict also dubbed the “Secret War.” Over 35,000 Hmong and Lao soldiers lost their lives during the conflict, which had a significant impact on these communities, leading to many refugees fleeing Laos and resettling in the U.S.
These Hmong and Lao soldiers were not American citizens at the time of their service. Despite their invaluable contributions, they were rendered ineligible for government veteran benefits and recognition typically provided to American veterans, such as healthcare, education, and other support.
About the program: The Old Glory Honor Flight program, which relies on donations, has enabled more than 5,700 veterans to visit the nation’s capital for free since 2009.
Diane MacDonald, the executive director of Old Glory Honor Flight, expressed her excitement, stating, “Hosting them on a flight is one way to recognize their service to our country. If you talk to any Vietnam veteran, they’ll tell you the Hmong bailed them out more than once.”