Friday, March 11, 2011

Wisconsin VIII

While driving through Wisconsin, I came upon a most unusual site.

Many still are unaware of the Secret War fought by the U.S. and her allies during what is called the Vietnam conflict. In an effort to stem the tide of soldiers, supplies and what have you through other, neighboring countries, the U. S waged war in them. This was denied for many years and the efforts of the people of these countries is little recognized, even today.

Among the most valiant of our allies were the Lao and Hmong peoples of Laos. Thousands of these refugees came to America following the war. They settled in Wisconsin (and Minnesota) in great numbers.

Sheboygan was one of the first to welcome them and after a time it was decided to build a memorial to those who perished in this Secret War. Thousands and thousands of Hmong fighters were lost and as their population was estimated to be only around 250,000 total, these were terrible losses to the people.

The site of this beautiful and unique site is Deland Park, on the shores of the Lake Michigan in Sheboygan. It consists of a circular wall that on the inside lists the names of the members of the Secret Guerrilla Units (SGU's) and panels that tell the story of this noble effort. The outside consists of a number of mosaic panels which as far as I can tell are representative of the fine needlework that the Hmong are famous for, that tell their story in a more traditional way. The pattern in the center of the memorial was added later and is based upon these same art works.

You can see the official site for more information, here;

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