Hundreds gather in Fresno to pay tribute to May Song Vang

August 23, 2013 4:03:45 PM PDT
Friday hundreds gathered in Fresno to pay tribute to Hmong leader May Song Vang's life, as well as the work of her late husband General Vang Pao.

A four day funeral began Friday for 62-year-old May Song Vang. As mourners stood side by side a funeral procession of police and military members made their way through the Fresno fairgrounds.

May Song Vang's death struck emotion in many.

"My mother is a mother figure to all the Hmong American people," Chi Neng Vang, May Song's Son said.

May Song's youngest son Chi Neng Vang led the eulogy for his family. Vang called his mother a compassionate friend, leader, nurse and pioneer for education. Vang said his mother made an impact on her own and alongside her husband, General Vang Pao, the father of the Hmong people.

At the funeral, military members folded the flag and presented it to the family. Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin spoke to some of May Song's accomplishments like the General Vang Pao Elementary School and her drive.

"Even though she was fighting cancer at the time, you would never know it. She was determining to talk to students about the importance of education," Swearengin said.

Hundreds of people including local, state and military leaders filled the room to honor May Song's life.

"May Song Vang Pao believed that each and every one of us could make a difference, because she made a difference and she inspired us," Congressmen Jim Costa said.

Hmong Americans from across the Valley, country and world turned out to pay their respects to May Song, their link to the general, who passed away in 2011.

"Even though my mother is no longer here today, that she has left the footprints for us for the sons and the family to continue," Chi Neng Vang said. A legacy, the family says it will now carry for the next generation.

In following with Hmong tradition May Song's funeral will continue tomorrow at the Fresno Fairgrounds Commerce Building. The funeral concludes Monday.


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