Some days ago, many people visited the Patriotic Martyrs Cemetery to lay bouquets at the grave of Pak Se Yong on the occasion of the 32nd anniversary of his death.
Pak wrote the words for Patriotic Song, the national anthem of the DPRK.
Since the song came out more than 70 years ago, it has been sung at numerous national ceremonies and international sporting events. But when the DPRK national anthem reverberated at the military parades in celebration of the 75th founding anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea in October last year and the Eighth Congress of the WPK last January, it imbued the whole Korean population with a surge of great pride and dignity.
As it impressively decorated the opening of the military parades which provided a glimpse of the dignity and weight of the powerful country, the song evoked a special memory of Pak Se Yong as well as pleasurable excitement among the people.
Pak was born in Koyang County, Kyonggi Province, in 1902.
Having aspired to literary honours from childhood, he took up a job in the newspaper industry after graduating from an elementary school in Seoul in 1922. Later, he joined the Korean Artists’ Proletarian Federation (KAPF) and started writing progressive poetry.
After Korea’s liberation in August 1945, he published lyric poems reflecting thoughts and feelings of people in south Korea, but his dream and hope were completely shattered due to foreign occupation of it.
At last, he chose to come to the DPRK making the turn of the destiny.
The happy looks of the people who turned out to build a new Korea and the introduction of democratic reforms including the land reform and the promulgation of the Law on Sex Equality and the Law on Nationalization of Industries set his heart on fire.
Especially, he was sleepless all night after meeting General Kim Il Sung one autumn day in 1946.
“Our country is really a beautiful country. It is sea-bound on three sides, and the mountains are imposing and sublime and the fields and gardens are full of all kinds of cereals and fruits. It has inexhaustible deposits of underground resources and treasures. Our people are the resourceful people who have a long history of five thousand years and glorious cultural traditions. … The instructions of General Kim Il Sung were literally a poem and a song of patriotism,” Pak wrote in his diary that day.
Overwhelmed by great excitement, he wrote the words for two songs at a stretch burning the midnight oil. They were later named Patriotic Song and The Glorious Motherland.
He was a war writer during the Fatherland Liberation War between 1950 and 1953 and after the war he produced many masterpieces extolling the motherland until the advanced age of over eighty.