Page:United States Statutes at Large Volume 116 Part 4.djvu/731

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CONCURRENT RESOLUTIONS—OCT. 17, 2002 116 STAT. 3159 co-pilots, Forward Air Guides, and mobile group rescue and combat reconnaissance units; Whereas Laotian and Hmong special forces, including highly deco- , rated group mobile units, served in daring and courageous heliborne and airborne combat operations in support of joint United States and Royal Lao Army military operations in Laos and Vietnam, including interdiction of enemy troop movements and supply convoys using the Ho Chi Minh Trail; Whereas Laotian and Hmong special forces guarded one of the most highly sensitive United States intelligence and electronic targeting sites in all of Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, LIMA Site 85, which permitted the United States Air Force and Navy to conduct the all-weather and night bombing of enemy targets in North Vietnam; Whereas tens of thousands of members of the Laotian and Hmong special forces and their families were trapped in Laos when the Communists took over, and many of these persons were brutally persecuted, imprisoned, or killed because of their role in defending Laos and assisting the United States as allies; Whereas many of those members of the Laotian and Hmong special forces and their families who avoided capture suffered for years in horrific conditions as political refugees in refugee camps in neighboring Thailand; Whereas the United States is now the home to significant communities of the Laotian and Hmong veterans and their families after providing them with political asylum, refugee status, and citizenship because of their unique contribution to United States national security interests during the Vietnam War; Whereas the Lao Veterans of America was founded as a nonprofit veterans organization in 1990 to honor and assist Laotian and Hmong veterans who served with or assisted the United States Armed Forces during the Vietnam War; Whereas the Lao Veterans of America has established chapters throughout the United States that have sought to serve their communities and educate the public about the historic contribution of the Lao and Hmong veterans during the Vietnam War; Whereas the Lao Veterans of America spearheaded and led national efforts in the Congress to seek to provide citizenship to elderly Laotian and Hmong veterans, as well as their spouses or widows; Whereas in 1995, a historic Lao Veterans of America ceremony was held at the airbase and headquarters of the 144th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard in Fresno, California, along with a memorial service and overflights of T-28 fighter aircraft to honor the Laotian and Hmong veterans, their American advisers, and the Lao Veterans of America and other veterans organizations; Whereas in 1997, long overdue national recognition and honor was finally bestowed upon the Lao Veterans of America and thousands of Laotian and Hmong veterans and their American advisers at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the District of Columbia and at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, by Members of the Congress and representatives of the United States intelligence, military, and diplomatic communities;