Jan 16, 2011 12:03 PM
Chee Vang, General Vang Pao's son says, "He is truly a father not only to his immediate family, but to the Hmong people world wide and we will all remember and miss him."
It was a day of mourning for the Hmong community in Northern California as they remembered their beloved leader. Chuckua Wang, First United Methodist Church Reverend says, "From young to old, everyone respects the general."
81-year-old General Vang Pao died of pneumonia Thrusday January 6th in Clovis, near Fresno. The former Laotian General is most known for his help with American troops during the Vietnam War, and was considered a hero by Hmong refugees living in the U.S. He is loved and respected by the Hmong community world wide. Penny Xiong from Oroville says, "He has done a lot of stuff for us and we appreciate everything he did for us."
Hundreds gathered in Oroville Saturday for two candlelight vigils to honor and remember the leadership of Pao. The First United Methodist Church and The Thermalito Grange opened it's doors to all, but especially for the 3,000 Hmong residents in Butte County, many of whom came to pay their respects to a cherished leader. Like Chuckua Wang, who attributes his life in America to General Pao. "To me, I would never see this beautiful dream without the general." Penny says, "He will be missed a lot."
General Pao struggled with criticism throughout his life, but that meant little to Hmong families who looked up to Vang Pao for guidance as they fought to make a home in America. Chee says, "I believe his legacy will be kept because now a days we're educated and are able to document his legacy. So that will be remembered and to teach future generations." The funeral for General Vang Pao will be held in Fresno from February 4th until the 9th.
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