I was born in Fresno, California USA, and one of the very noticeable features of the city is the large ethnic Hmong population there. When I was growing up I always heard stories about how they came to resettle in Fresno (among only a few other US cities) following the “Secret War” in Laos. One of the residents, or at least very frequent visitor to the city was General Vang Pao. He was a major general in the Royal Lao Army and the leader of the Hmong American community in the United States. He was a local hero among the Hmong where I grew up. He passed away last month and his funeral was this week. The community in my home town had 6 days of funeral ceremony to honor him. A big piece of history is gone with him, and if you aren't familiar with the circumstances that led to the flight of the ethnic Hmong from Laos, here are some good, interesting articles about General Pao and the Secret War. Secret War (especially part 3, "Evacuation of the Hmong") General Vang Pao NYT Article on Vang Pao's recent arrest If you find that interesting I encourage you to do a search and read more on the subject.