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New legislation to honor Southeast Asian communities

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Hmong Veterans

WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -- Southeast Asian communities and veterans are being honored by a new proposed bill.

U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Jerry Moran of Kansas introduced it Wednesday to honor the contributions made to defend American troops during the Vietnam War. 

The bill also funds the removal of landmines and other unexploded weapons left behind in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. 

The Hmong American Center saying they're grateful for the closure this bill brings. 

"It provides closure, it provides peace of mind." said Yee Leng Xiong, Executive Director of the Hmong American Center. 

He said this bill is long overdue. 

"As the years go by, many of our veterans are passing away, they need closure." he said. 

He said Southeast Asian veterans who served in Vietnam have yet to be properly recognized, that they're scared to be forgotten. 

"They fought on behalf of the United States, they fought to defend American principles, their foundations, before they even knew what democracy was." 

Finally, a step forward. 

"It provides a recognition to those that deserve it." he said. 

Xiong said the removal of the landmines would also be a huge relief. 

"It helps the community become safer, it helps provide peace of mind to those in Laos, but also to individual Southeast Asian community members in the United States here peace of mind, that they can farm." said Xiong.

He said ultimately, it provides validation that the concerns of the Southeast Asian community are being heard. 

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