Memorial monument to be built to honor Hmong Lao veterans

85,000 Hmong and Lao make Minnesota home, almost all 85,000 have an immediate relative who served during the Secret War in Laos. The war started in 1961 and ended in 1975.

During the Vietnam War, the CIA secretly recruited people to find fallen pilots and hold back North Vietnamese troops. Once the war ended St. Paul became a safe haven for refugees.

Governor Dayton joined to break ground on what will be a $520,000 memorial at the State Capitol Lawn.

"You served, you served our country during that terrible conflict and no doubt lost loved ones as a result. You persevered, we are very proud to salute you as American, as Minnesotans and as our friends."

The memorial will be a bronze bamboo shoot which will represent growth and will be funded in large part by last year's state bonding bill and private contributions.

It is estimated over 30,000 people lost their lives to save US soldiers.

"This is our home now. We serve our home we will serve, this is our home now all of us are American soldiers we are happy to serve this country and it is a pleasure to be here."

A veteran who survived the war expressed how happy he was to take part in the ground breaking.

"When they served as 14, 15, 13 year olds they did not know what it all meant. Now this brings everything to completion to closure now they realize why so many sacrificed and why everything happened. This is the defining moment for all those sacrifices."

Organizers want to have the memorial monument complete by late this year or early 2016.