Former Hmong general Vang Pao (L) with Lao veterans after laying a wreath at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC.
His story isn't often told, but for the international Hmong refugee community, General Vang Pao was a father figure. Pao led the Southeast Asian Hmong people in a CIA-backed battle against communists in the Vietnam war and joined the refugee community in 1975 when Laos fell to communist hands.
After enduring house arrest, and then exhoneration by the US Government, Pao died January 6. Efforts are underway to get him buried at Arlington, but meantime, tens of thousands are expected to honor him for funeral services in Fresno from Friday, February 4, through Wednesday, February 9. The six days of mourning include Hmong and Buddhist ceremonies, plus speeches and presentations by organizations and dignitaries. (CLICK THROUGH for details.)
In 2008, we ran a profile of Vang Pao produced by his great niece, then-KPCC reporter Doualy Xaykaothao, which we now present again.