After 70 years as king of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away in October of 2016. Many Thai- U.S citizens recount the late king as a man of the people, for he reset precedents that had separated the monarchs of Thailand from the people. Before Bhumibol Adulyadej kings were distant figures, the average person wasn’t even allowed to make eye contact with the king. After 7 decades as king and 30 prime ministers Bhumibol Adulyadej amassed a legacy based on his willingness to relate to people by kneeling down to speak with them on his adventures through the land.
Since his passing many people of Thai descent here in the United States have expressed great pain and shock spanning generations. Thousands of Thai Americans gathered at Buddhist temples across the United States to observe the 100th day since the kings passing there many people recounted their memories of the late king and his legacy, and dedicating themselves to preserving his memory.
The unity among the Thai Buddhist community in this time of morning is symbolic of the brief history Thai- Buddhist people have in the United States. Whereas Protestantism and Catholicism both have long standing history across this land the Thai- Buddhist community has yet to be diluted by American culture.