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US-Cambodians Observe Ceremonies for Bridge Deaths

  • Im Sothearith
  • VOA Khmer

The ceremony at Wat Buddhikarama, in Maryland, had raised $4,900 by Monday.

The ceremony at Wat Buddhikarama, in Maryland, had raised $4,900 by Monday.

Cambodian-Americans marked seven-day ceremonies for those who died in the Diamond Bridge stampede last week, joining many in Cambodia who sought answers and prayed that the dead rest in peace.

Venerable monk Soeng Yoeung Ratana, a member of Wat Khemarak Rainsey temple in San Jose, Calif., said Cambodians from across the US had participated at the pagoda's ritual on Monday.

“There are people from New York City, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Stockton, Modesto and San Francisco, together with people in San Jose, observing the ceremony,” he said.

The seven-day ceremony is meant to put the souls of the dead at ease. In Cambodia, that meant rituals in many pagodas across the country and near the site where 351 people died when they panicked on an overcrowded bridge.

Mu Sochua, a lawmaker for the Sam Rainsy Party who also went to the San Jose ceremony, said it was important now to share condolences with the families of those killed in the Nov. 22 disaster.

“It's important to participate in the ceremony,” she said. Those who died or were injured in the stampede “will never be forgotten,” she said.

Cambodian Ambassador Hem Heng, who took part in a ceremony at Wat Buddhikarama, in Maryland, said similar ceremonies had been held in other cities and included fundraising for families.

The Buddhikarama temple had raised $4,900 by Monday.