Minnesota memorial honors soldiers of 'secret war' - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Minnesota memorial honors soldiers of 'secret war'

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - -

A new memorial on the Minnesota Capitol grounds honors soldiers of the "secret war" in Laos.

Hundreds gathered Saturday for the dedication of the memorial to the U.S. and Alliance Special Forces in Laos.

The 10-foot-tall bronze monument commemorates those who served in the southeast Asian country, from 1961 and 1975.

Laos was neutral during the Vietnam War, but the CIA recruited Hmong soldiers to carry on a covert campaign.

After the U.S. pulled out of Laos and Vietnam, tens of thousands fled and lived in refugee camps in Thailand. Many refugees eventually resettled in the U.S. An estimated 66,000 Hmong live in Minnesota.

Minnesota Public Radio News reports Lt. Gov. Tina Smith praised the veterans, saying they "saved American lives."

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