|Photo: U.S. Army|
Kahm Xiong, of St. Paul, was among the 13 people killed last Thursday when Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan suddenly opened fire in a building at the sprawling military base of Fort Hood, Texas. And on Tuesday, President Barack Obama paid tribute Xiong and each of his comrades during a memorial service there.
"Kham Xiong came to America from Thailand as a small child. He was a husband and father who followed his brother into the military because his family had a strong history of service," Obama said. "He was preparing for his first deployment to Afghanistan."
The president spoke on a podium surrounded by pictures of the shooting victims.
"This generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have volunteered in the time of certain danger," Obama said. "They have stood watch in blinding deserts and on snowy mountains. They have extended the opportunity of self-government to peoples that have suffered tyranny and war. They are man and woman; white, black, and brown; of all faiths and all stations -- all Americans, serving together to protect our people, while giving others half a world away the chance to lead a better life."
Xiong's widow and parents attended the ceremony. But not everyone in Xiong's large extended family could make the trip to Texas. A number of his siblings, cousins and former teachers watched the service on television from a classroom at his alma mater, Community of Peace Academy.
A traditional three-day Hmong funeral service for Xiong will start at Legacy Funeral Home's Maplewood chapel on Saturday, Nov. 28.