Vigil tonight in Sacramento for Hmong Gen. Vang Pao

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Members of Sacramento's Hmong American community are holding a candlelight vigil tonight honoring the memory of Gen. Vang Pao, the Hmong leader who died Thursday of heart failure at a Clovis Hospital.

The vigil will be held until midnight at the Hmong Palace Church of Sacramento, 6525 53rd Ave. 95828, said Vaming Xiong, president of the Hmong American Ad Hoc Committee of Sacramento.

"It's very sad - he did his job as a leader of the Hmong people to the very last," said Xiong.

Vang brought his people to the United States after Laos fell to the Communists in 1975 and established a network of Lao Family Community Centers that helped thousands of Hmong become citizens, learn English, get job training and access health care.

Vang, who turned 81 on Christmas Day, was known to thousands of Hmong as the Hmong King, or the Hmong George Washington.

There are now about 350,000 Hmong Americans living in the United States, including about 30,000 in the Sacramento area.


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