My Youthful Days

By Ri Kum Chol (pictured), director of the August 28 Youth Shock Brigade Management Bureau

Now that I greet the 75th founding anniversary of the youth league, I recollect with deep emotion the past days of my youth.

I was born into a soldier’s family in Tokchon City of South Phyongan Province in February Juche 54 (1965). After graduation from primary and middle schools, I took a training course of youth league officials. I spent most of my youthful days at grand socialist construction sites—construction of a large-scale hydraulic power station and Samjiyon Schoolchildren’s Palace, reconstruction of the northern railways, construction of broad-gauge railways between Hyesan and Samjiyon, Yangdok Hot Spring Resort, etc.

I still vividly remember the days when a power station was being built in the Paektu area.

We shock brigade members unsparingly devoted the strength and passion of our youth, building dams in the deep, rugged mountain valleys far from the capital city of Pyongyang.

No words will be enough to describe the feats of labour they performed in building dams and digging waterway tunnels inch by inch, breaking rocks and moving mountains in the face of the biting northern cold.

When even the means of transport were frozen due to the intense cold, they transported building materials on large and small sledges; the death-defying corps members held up the railway bridges with their bodies in the icy waters. In 2015 in particular, they completed within 120 days a huge amount of work by working day and night, and in this way built the dam for power station No. 1. This was a legendary tale of heroic youth that could be created only by the young people of Korea.

Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un gave prominence to our young people, who had turned out as one and created miracles in response to the call of the Workers’ Party of Korea, as the masters of the youth power and named the power station the Paektusan Hero Youth Power Station.

All the monumental structures built on this land bear witness to the heroic feats of our young people, and many of them are named in honour of them.

The country awarded me Order of Kim Jong Il, the title of Labour Hero and other high official commendations of the state. I was also honoured to attend important meetings of the country. Not only I but also many young Koreans have grown up to be the heroes of the times and labour innovators. It is thanks to the WPK’s trust in and high appreciation for our young people, I think.

I often have an opportunity to meet with youth league officials of other countries on my business. They ask me in unison how young Koreans build power stations, roads and railways in our country.

Then, I tell them: The WPK has maintained the strategic line of prioritizing young people. It gives the youth league immense assignments to train young people into its reliable successors and reserve force in the practical struggle. They take the lion’s share in major construction projects of the country. All the projects are carried out on the strength of mobilization and ideological unity. The state concentrates investment and efforts on the projects assigned to the youth league.

I have devoted my youthful days to the work of the youth league. When I look back upon it, I pride myself on a youth league official who have grown up under the trust and care of the Party.

Whenever I meet with young people in the uniform of the youth shock brigade walking along the streets, I advise them: If they were born and grew up on this land, they should add brilliance to their precious youth on the road for the prosperity of their country, burning their hearts with patriotism.

The whole country will be stirred when the young people are in high spirits, and a prosperous tomorrow will be achieved earlier when they take vigorous steps.

Our young people will regard the leadership of the WPK as their life and soul, and devote their sincere efforts, wisdom and passion to the sacred struggle for the prosperity of the country.

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