North Korea Family Tradition

Kim Myong Hwa, chief nurse of the Ryongsong Nursery in Ryongsong District,  has sent all her children for military service to defend their country.
Kim Myong Hwa, chief nurse of the Ryongsong Nursery in Ryongsong District, has sent all her children for military service to defend their country.

“Whose daughter is the girl? She is dancing very well.”

“Well, she is Su Yang from my neighbourhood. She will surely be employed by an art troupe.”

Returning home after seeing her daughter’s performance at her school, Kim Myong Hwa, head of the Ryongsong Nursery, Ryongsong District, Pyongyang, was deep in thought considering praises of other students’ parents for her daughter. Art troupe? Then what about my mother’s request?

Parents feel happy when their children are praised by others, but Myong Hwa was far from happy, because she remembered her mother’s request to maintain her family tradition.

Her mother was born in Seoul. She suffered all kinds of grinding toil from her childhood. During the Fatherland Liberation War (June 25, 1950-July 27, 1953) she joined the Korean People’s Army and fought bravely.

Learning from her experiences that the happiness and future of the family depend on the destiny of the country, she made sure that all of her six children joined the army to stand at the post to defend the country. Even when she was advised to send her youngest daughter (Myong Hwa) to university, she refused and saw to it that the daughter also joined the army, insisting that there should be no differences between men and women in defending the country.

In addition, she always took the lead in supporting the People’s Army. In late September last year, she, as if she had had a presentiment that something would happen to her, took out her pension and a big parcel she had kept for several years and said to Myong Hwa, “… Serving in the army is our family tradition. Now nine of my grandchildren have joined the army following in the steps of their parents. So I want Su Yang to join the army, too. It is my last wish…. And this is what I can do for the country for the last time. It’s my sincerity. Please have these sent to the devastated areas in the northern part of the country.”

It was her last words. Myong Hwa got impressed by the last look of her mother whose devotion to the sake of the country was unselfish. She made up her mind to work like her mother and follow their family tradition of military service.

But what if Su Yang enters an art troupe?

Of course, Su Yang has an instinct for dance, and teachers of her school and a dance director from an art troupe had recognized the fact. At that time Myong Hwa had heard their words with delight, but now she regretted it. No, she thought, developing talents at the school was not bad. The matter was what she had to regard as more important. But she couldn’t coerce her daughter. She knew a forced job could not go on smoothly.

She was awakened from her thought when Su Yang shook her by the arms. “Mum, what do you think of so deeply? You know I’ve imagined my leading role in the dance I Can Still See Victory in the Revolution. What a wonderful dream. If the maternal grandmother had been alive, she would have praised me highly.” Myong Hwa went home with the thought that she should take any opportunity to tell Su Yang her own opinion. But the opportunity did not come of its own accord.

One day Su Yang visited her at work in the nursery. “Mum, I’ve come here to tell you an important matter. Today we all wrote out our aspirations,” the daughter said and went on, “Mum, you know serving in the army is the tradition of our family. Of course dancing is my hope, but it is not more important than defending the country. At first I thought a lot, but finally I managed to control myself. You know I’ve grown up listening to the maternal grandmother’s story of her military uniform like a lullaby. I would become a person who can do what the country wants. I volunteered to go to the front line.”

Myong Hwa was moved to tears by the daughter’s words. Right, she thought. It can never be otherwise. Our younger generations who grow up under the socialist system will maintain the tradition of our society turned into a great harmonious family.