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I Am Hmong

At Patrick Henry High School, we value and appreciate the presence of Hmong students in our community. This page will showcase staff and student work around Hmong language and culture.

See Vang '08 Remembers Her Grandfather


A Man of Peace

My grandfather was a Vietnam War veteran. In addition to being one of the few people that I truly respect and admire, he has always been an inspiration to me. He loved to study cultural aspects of philosophy and expand his knowledge of the world. He would pass this knowledge on by making speeches, and lecturing on how peace plays such an important role in society.

He grew up as an orphan, with nobody he could rely on. Despite these difficult circumstances, he was always kind and thoughtful towards others. Peace was something he valued more than anything else. My grandfather hated to see people suffer for the hateful actions of others. Experiencing war made him feel disgusted about violence and hatred throughout the world. Scars and bullet wounds from the Vietnam War always reminded him of the brutality of a world without peace. He didn’t like to tell us his war stories, but he felt they needed to be heard so people would know how awful war was. He wanted them to know that peace cannot be restored if we continue fighting.

Violence was not in his nature, nor was it ever in his actions. He yearned for peace, a kind of peace that can change people and the world we live in. Even if he wasn’t as influential he hoped to be, he desperately wanted to bring peace to his community. He was eagerly hoping that his lectures and speeches would make people more aware that peace was critical if wars and conflicts were to be avoided. For that reason he became a Hmong community leader, who solved problems and gave advice to those in need of his help.

Sadly, while I was in second grade my grandfather was diagnosed with lung disease. Everyone knew he was sick, but they were not told that he was suffering from such a deadly disease. People who knew him were devastated that there was nothing they could do to save him from dying. Knowing he was dying, he took a look at the world, and with his last breath he told my grandmother he wasn’t afraid to die. It was peace that he desired. It was peace that he wanted everyone to share. He did not want others to endure the kind of violence he had to suffer.

This year will be the 10th anniversary of my grandfather’s death. Even after so many years, people still remember him as a wise and generous leader. If it is possible I’d like to fulfill my grandfather’s wish for peace someday. Much like my grandfather, violence is something I can’t tolerate. I think that my efforts toward peace will change the world dramatically. I never understood why violence must be used in order for change to be made. I feel that there is no need for violence or hatred, when more diplomatic ways can be used.

Why must this world experience any more violence? It doesn’t make sense to me at all. I’ve always encouraged peaceful activities when volunteering in elementary and middle schools. And while working as a former tutor, I lectured on how we, as a whole nation, can work together to preserve peace. With what I learned in school and from my grandfather’s teachings, I hope to gain some kind of peace for my community and the world if possible. Maybe someday I can form a peace coalition in the name of my grandfather, and pass on his teachings.