By now, the whole world should know, the king of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej (Thai:ภูมิพลอดุลยเดช) died on October 13, 2016. He was the 9th king of Thailand beginning his reign on June 9, 1946. At the time of his death, he was the longest serving head of state in the world and the longest reigning monarch in Thai history, serving for 70 years and 126 days. For nearly every Thai person, he was the only king they knew.
The king of Thailand was highly revered. People considered him a family member, and often he would be referred to as “father”. He had reached a nearly divine status. For the first week after his death the entire country was extremely somber. A 1 year mourning period was declared and overnight wearing black became the new fashion trend.
Thailand has had a turbulent history. Frequent military coups and 30 prime ministers since the king took the throne. Like any leader some of the king’s decisions and actions were controversial. But he did a lot of good for the country. He helped a lot of people. He was the one constant in Thailand over all the changes of leadership. He held the country together and prevented the coups from developing into civil war. He was an honorable person. He was a humble person. He loved Thailand and he loved all Thai people. He understood his great responsibility and served with pride, dignity, and grace. For these reasons, he was universally loved by all Thai people.
It is my hope that one day America can have a leader like this.