LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Family is a blessing to community

Published 12:39 pm Monday, November 29, 2021

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Kudos to Chris Miller for his amazing article in Tuesday’s SNAP which shared the story of Xang Ly and his wonderful family! (See https://www.thesnaponline.com/2021/11/24/from-laos-to-albemarle-ly-lives-american-dream/ )

This family’s stories of courage, bravery, determination and devotion truly are an inspiration to all of us.

I was a young adult during the Vietnam War era, and vividly recall the unrest over our nation’s involvement in that war. However, I never learned much about the Laotian connection to it, nor was I aware of the Laotian Civil War or the role of the Hmong people in fighting that war and aiding American forces in Southeast Asia.

Many thanks for this history lesson!

As Miller noted, the Ly family’s experience fleeing Laos brings to mind similar situations as Afghan civilians fled their country this past summer.

I was also pleased to read about the assistance that the family received from the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) in their resettlement. Coming from the Lutheran tradition myself and having lived in the Washington, D.C. area for many years, I am very familiar with the wonderful work of this organization.

Since 1939, it has been “welcoming the stranger” to our shores and helping refugees to find new lives in a new home. Reports indicate that North Carolina is welcoming over 1,200 Afghan refugees to the state. Currently, LIRS is working through their local agency, Lutheran Services Carolina, to resettle a number of these families in Raleigh and Asheville.

As we approach the holiday season, many organizations will be competing for our financial donations. Might I suggest that we consider donating to LIRS in honor of the Ly family? (lirs.org or Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, PO Box 17467, Baltimore, MD 21297-1467.)

Those of us privileged to grow up in the United States frequently take for granted the freedoms which we enjoy, and people like the Ly family remind us that these freedoms come with a price.

I am so grateful for the ways in which the Ly family blesses our community with their presence and their gifts.

May we as a community continue to be welcoming of those fleeing hardship in other countries, and be humble enough to learn from them and to value their experiences.

Anne Lipe