Vang Pao was a legendary guerrilla fighter and patriarch of the Hmong people.

Campaign urges stamp to honor Hmong leader Vang Pao

Published: Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 2B

Gen. Vang Pao, the venerated Hmong leader who died in 2011, is now the subject of a campaign seeking to have him honored on a U.S. postage stamp.

Jasmine Yang, a mail carrier in South Natomas, initiated a petition in December and says she has gathered 10,000 signatures supporting the issuing of a Vang Pao stamp.

"My goal was to get 5,000, but I got 10,000," Yang said.

Although Vang Pao died in Clovis and many Hmong are concentrated in California's Central Valley, signatures came from all over the United States, Yang said.

The standard process for stamps involves going through an appointed postage committee that selects subjects and commissions designs, a process that can take many years.

Stamp honorees are supposed to have contributed to American history or culture.

Yang, a postal worker since 1997, hopes that supporters can appeal to Congress to push the stamp through in just a year or two.

Congressional mandates for stamps, however, are rare.

Vang Pao's supporters have campaigned to honor him on many fronts.

After he died, they worked unsuccessfully to have the general buried in Arlington National Cemetery to honor his service in support of the United States' war in Southeast Asia.

Recently, the Fresno Unified School District agreed to name a new elementary school for Vang Pao.

Yang said she met the general at Lao family New Year's celebrations, where her father heads a Lao family organization.

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Read more articles by Carlos Alcalá

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