Fresno in Fresno County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
Lao Hmong American War Memorial
Portrait of a People - Hmong
From 1961 to 1975 the Hmong and other Lao people of the highlands of Laos helped the United States fight against Communism in Laos and Vietnam. On December 31, 1960, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared, "We cannot let Laos fall to the Communists even if we have to fight." Because the Ho Chi Minh trail ran through the territory of the Hmong, the CIA recruited the Hmong and other Lao groups as a special guerrilla unit under the leadership of General Vang Pao to fight the spread of Communism throughout Southeast Asia.
After South Vietnam fell to Communist rule, Laos also became Communist. The Hmong, who had aided both the Royal Lao government and the Americans, were labeled as rebels by the newly established government and targeted for extermination. The Hmong fled their country and became political refugees.
They were offered safety and freedom in the United States, France, Australia, Canada, and other Western countries.
Thirty years after the Vietnam War ended, over 55,000 Hmong lived in the Central Valley of California. Fresno, California became home to the largest Hmong population outside Laos. Those that were once allies are now called friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens.
This Memorial reminds future generations of our enduring appreciation of a people, a time, and a sacrifice that must never be forgotten.
This Memorial was made possible through the efforts of the City of Fresno, County of Fresno, and the Lao Hmong American War Memorial Committee and through the generous contributions of members of the Fresno community.
Mayor Alan Autry
Erected 2005 by City of Fresno, County of Fresno, Lao Hmong American War Memorial Committee and Concerned Citizens.
Location. 36° 44.171′ N, 119° 47.387′ W. Marker is in Fresno, California, in Fresno County. Marker is on Van Ness Avenue, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Memorial is on the west grounds of the county courthouse. Marker is in this post office area: Fresno CA 93721, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fresno County Courthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (within shouting distance of this marker); Fresno (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Viva Liberation (about 400 feet away); Purple Heart Memorial (about 500 feet away); William Saroyan (about 500 feet away); Honoring the Ex-Braceros and Their Contributions (about 500 feet away); David of Sassoon (about 600 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Fresno.
Regarding Lao Hmong American War Memorial. The 6-foot bronze statue depicting two Hmong soldiers rescuing a wounded American pilot honors thousands of Hmong guerrilla fighters enlisted by the CIA during the Vietnam War. Many fighters settled in the San Joaquin Valley after the war, and today Fresno is home to one of the largest Hmong populations outside of Laos. [From Historical Fresno County Courthouse Park Walking Tour Brochure]
Also see . . .
1. The Split Horn. (Submitted on March 21, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Lao Veterans. (Submitted on March 21, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. General Vang Pao and the Hmong Army. (Submitted on March 21, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. Historical Fresno County Courthouse Park Walking Tour. (Submitted on March 22, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Patriots & Patriotism • War, Vietnam •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 1,796 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page was last revised on July 30, 2016.