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posted: 7/9/2014 3:39 PM

Dedication set for Lao Veterans Memorial in Elgin

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  • Members of the Lao-American Veterans Organization of Illinois pose by the site of their new memorial at the Elgin Veterans Memorial Park.

      Members of the Lao-American Veterans Organization of Illinois pose by the site of their new memorial at the Elgin Veterans Memorial Park.
    COURTESY OF JAMES HARVEY PHOTOGRAPHY

 
Submitted by Jerry Turnquist

The public is invited to attend the dedication of a memorial garden to honor Lao veterans who served side by side with U.S. troops during the Vietnam War as part of "The Secret War."

The ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 19, at the Elgin Veterans Memorial Park, at 270 N. Grove Ave., Elgin, adjacent to the Gail Borden Public Library.

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The addition, which will include a small garden and two plaques, will pay tribute to these veterans who "rescued downed airmen and defended American outposts," according to the text on one of the plaques. "Many were injured, tortured, and killed. At the end of the war, they were forced to flee to Thailand for refuge, then eventually immigrated to the United States."

Funding for the project came from the Lao-American Veterans Organization of Illinois along with other contributors. It is being installed in cooperation with the city of Elgin and the Elgin Veterans Memorial Park Phase II Committee. A portion of the funds raised will also benefit the memorial park.

The dedication date of July 19th has been proclaimed as Lao American Veterans Day in Elgin by Mayor David Kaptain and in the state by Gov. Pat Quinn. This is the date on which Laos won its independence from France and on which the Royal Lao Armed Forces was established.

Those attending are encouraged to carpool or park at the municipal lot south of Kimball Street because of other activities going on at the library. A reception will take place in the Elgin Room of the library following the program.

For more information, contact Chin Keomuongchanh at (904) 422-8883 or chinkeomuongchanh@yahoo.com or Em Ramangkoun at (847) 373-7467 or emramangkoun@yahoo.com.

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