A fatal automobile accident in Tucker, Ga., last week has left a local family reeling from the death of a loved one after Lymeng Lim, 47, was killed by a hit-and-run while sitting at a red light in Tucker. Lymeng was simply taking his father to the doctor when his life came to an abrupt end.
“It was such a senseless death,” admits his brother, Meng Lim, “but I want people to know his story. I don’t want his death to be a waste.”
The Lim family of Bremen is seizing the opportunity to spread the word to their community about the kindness, courage and conviction of Lymeng.
Lymeng was born on Aug. 22, 1964, in Cambodia, the son of Se Lim and Anh Hue Tran Lim. His family immigrated to the United States in 1981 with his sister, Siv Lang Chang, and brother, Meng. Once in the states, Lymeng became a Bremen High School graduate, a member of First Baptist Church and a veteran of the U.S. Navy.
However, Lymeng and his family overcame great adversity before making their way to America.
The Lims were living in Cambodia in 1975 during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror under the leadership of Saloth Sar, better known as Pol Pot. Pol Pot’s aim was to form a Communist peasant farming society. Unfortunately, his efforts resulted in the death of 25 percent of the country’s population due to starvation, overwork and executions. Part of Pol Pot’s plan included relocating thousands of people, removing them from their homes and placing them in work camps.
The Lim family was right in the middle of Pot’s machinations.
Meng, who was extremely young at the time, says he does remember some of the time he spent in the work camps.
“They split us up. I was in one work camp for children my age, my brother was in another for children his age, and my sister was in yet another camp,” Meng recalls. “We were in a building with long rows of beds with maybe one or two adults to supervise us. Every morning, when the sun came up, they marched us to the fields to work, and at sunset they would march us back. We had no school, no toys, nothing.”
Lymeng, being older, was sent to a different camp and forced to aid the Khmer Rouge military forces.
“By the time he was 12, he was given an AK-47 and was told to patrol a part of the Vietnamese-Cambodian border throughout the night as a night watch,” Meng says. “My brother fell asleep. The penalty was cigarette burns up and down his legs.”
Fortunately, the Lim’s were able to remove themselves from Cambodia and come to the United States when Lymeng was 17 and Meng was 9.
“My brother was lucky to survive the Pol Pot nightmare,” Meng says. “Leaving was a matter of survival. We had already lost our grandmother and older brother, had we not left we would have lost more [members of the family].”
Meng says he and his brother did not squander the opportunities afforded to them in the country that was now their home. Even though Lymeng did not speak English, it did not stop him from being successful in school.
“Each night before class, my brother looked up each word and translated every sentence in his text books until he did not have to do that anymore,” Meng said. “He graduated from Bremen High School and eventually West Georgia College, and at the time of his death he was obtaining his M.B.A.”
After Sept. 11, 2001, Lymeng fulfilled a life-long dream to serve in the U.S. military by joining the Navy.
“When my brother graduated from high school, he dreamed of enlisting in the U.S. Army to give back to a country that delivered him from unspeakable misery,” Meng said. “When 9/11 happened, my brother joined the Navy. Though his age prevented him from enlisting as an officer, nevertheless, his time in the U.S. military was the happiest and best memories of his life. He was so proud.”
Meng says he hopes his brother’s story reminds everyone that the human spirit is “unbreakable and resilient” and reminds everyone of his brother’s kindness.
Lymeng leaves behind his father, Se Lim of Atlanta; mother, Anh Hue Tran Lim of Bremen; daughters, Victoria Lim and Julie Lim, both of California; sister, Siv Lang Chang of Tucker; and brother, Meng and Chonlada Lim of Tallapoosa.
A funeral service was held Saturday at First Baptist Church of Bremen, and visitation was held at Hightower Funeral Home in Bremen. Interment will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday in the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, Ga.
Hightower Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.