July 14, 2023 – I will always say that we are proud and honored to be living in the United States of America, especially here in Clovis, California.
Our individual stories remind us of the magical, intoxicating power of America. Our younger generation may sometimes forget that feeling or have never experienced it, but some of us have not.
I assure you that I have not, because I, like some of you, came from afar and fell in love with America.
You see, America became my home on November 15, 1976. It was the bicentennial celebration of America’s independence. I was only 5. I have never known my birth country, Laos, for it fell to communist rule after America returned from the Vietnam War.
America was our only hope of Freedom. Many Hmong chose freedom over communism, so we left everything behind to come to this new land. Thus, this nation and this flag became our very hope for a better future.
Frank Crane said it best back in 1915, “Other flags mean a glorious past, this flag a glorious future.” How true that is for the Hmong. She has given a glorious future to us.
After the Secret War in Laos, Hmong found refuge in France, Argentina, Australia, Canada and the United States.
After only 40 years, the Hmong who settled in America are the most prosperous in the world. We are the richest, the most educated, started the most businesses, own the most property, elevated to highest positions of leadership, and we are the most able to help our fellow citizens as well as the rest of the Hmong in the world.
Today, there are over 2.7 million Hmong in China, yet they pale in comparison to what the Hmong in America have achieved.
I share this to remind you, that the American experiment of Freedom and the American Dream is still alive and strong.
Thinking back to the time of our Nation’s founding, one realizes that our democracy is so strong because it was forged in the fires of adversity.
Our forefathers were motivated by something bigger than themselves. They must have been, because America prevailed.
The great American experiment in freedom and democracy has really just begun. We sometimes forget the terrible hardships our forefathers willingly endured for their beliefs.
And they challenge us to match that greatness of spirit in our present time.
With the birth of our nation, the cause of human freedom had become forever tied to our Constitution and our flag. These two are the symbols of the unconquerable spirit of a free people.
Freedom is not a resting place, but a constant goal spurring us on to ever-greater achievements.
I don’t know about you, but I always get a warm sense of gratitude deep inside my heart and a chill up and down my spine when I take time to appreciate the freedoms we actually have.
I must remain thankful and daily reaffirm my love and loyalty to our blessed and beautiful land.
Many Americans today know less about our nation than did our elders. Many grew up loving this Nation.
They grew up proud to be a protector of this land. It is our duty to share these historical truths to our sons and daughters and teach them to celebrate the values and riches of our Nation.
It only takes one generation of parents failing to pass this history onto their children for us to lose our heritage. We must resolve to not be that generation.
Living in Clovis, I have an enormous sense of pride. It’s an understanding that I am fortunate to live in a country that affords me freedom and opportunity, and an understanding that our diverse mix of cultures are bound by the values that this land represents.
America is truly an exceptional country, and we must live in such a way that serves as a daily reminder to others of that exceptionalism.
Our most precious inheritance is freedom, and that history has bestowed on each of us the unique responsibility for its protection. We will always remain “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”