John-Thomas Kobos, KFSN-TV (Fresno), January 10, 2011
Funeral plans for General Vang Pao, the leader of hundreds of thousands of Hmong, are underway. Family members are describing it as a ‘Funeral fit for a King.’
The funeral will be held on February 4th at the Fresno Convention Center. Standard Hmong funeral lasts four days, but because his father was so influential and important this funeral will go on for six days.
Vang said the Fresno Convention Center will have to accomodate 15-20,000 people a day. Stories of the General growing up will be told as well as how he helped American soldiers during the Vietnam war and why his mission in life was to liberate his people from Laotian persecution.
Vang: “So many parts it’s overwhelming. No one can really comprehend what’s going to be done because it’s never been done . . . fit for a King.”
His role as leader did come with challenges later in life. U.S. prosecutors accused the General of plotting to overthrow his former government.
In 2009 charges were dropped against the General for lack of evidence. However twelve of his close friends and former officers were left facing those charges. Monday afternoon the federal prosecutor in the case dropped the charges for lack of evidence.
“I think he’d be very pleased to know. He and I discussed that on a number of occasion,” said Valley congressman Jim Costa (D).
Costa [Rep. Jim Costa, D] is seeking a waiver on behalf of the General’s family to bury the Hmong leader at Arlington National Cemetery.