Starting this weekend, Hmong people in La Crosse will have a place in Veterans Freedom Park that will forever honor their sacrifice to the United States.
Louis Ferris has been instrumental in bringing multiple memorials to the park and hopes his latest brings to light the sacrifices thousands of Hmong people made during the Vietnam War.
“They’re so good. They’re so kind and I didn’t want them… if I don’t do anything, nobody else would,” Ferris said. “I know that. I just have to start, perhaps start a trend, get a trend going here. If we do it here, they’ll do it in Minneapolis, they’ll do it in St. Paul.. get something going.”
The statue, which will be based on two local Hmong veterans, explains how the Hmong people helped the United States fight in the late 1960’s in Laos.
For organizers the purpose of the memorial is to bring attention to an often overlooked, but important part of history for many people in the community.
“Maybe the young children or young kids that are bigger that don’t know why the Hmong people be here,” said Former President of Wisconsin Laos Veteran Natou Lor. “They don’t know what happened in Laos. In Laos, we have a secret army in Laos to help the United States fighting in Laos.”
Ferris has been working to fund and create the memorial for over a year. He says it’s a small token of appreciation for everything they did during the war and for the community since then.
“They don’t get the recognition they deserve. They fought for this country, they fought for our freedom. People don’t know that. They lost everything, even those that won, lost,” said Ferris
The dedication and unveiling of the Hmong-Lao Vietnam Veterans Memorial will be held this Saturday at 11 a.m. in Veterans Freedom Park.