The General noticed the watchwords, including Bravery and Fortitude, affixed to the pillars in the barracks.
“What are those?” he asked.
“They represent the ten rules for combat and virtues advanced by President Kim Il Sung.”
He saw a box fastened on top of the pillar and asked, “Then what is that?”
“The box contains the board and pieces for Korean chess, sticks for yut game and playing cards.”
“That’s good. What is that below it?”
“That is a mat on which the soldiers sit when playing cards or other games.”
“You have everything in a complete set.”
Noting that the nests in the trees made by the soldiers were a manifestation of their patriotism, he praised them for building cozy homes for birds and sprucing up the bedroom of the company.
An officer of the company said to him, “The company owes its smart appearance to Jo Kyong Gu, who was its political instructor before being transferred to another unit some time ago.”
“Jo Kyong Gu?! Jo Kyong Gu… the name rings a bell.”
“His past is rather chequered. When he was a soldier at this company, he was discharged in disgrace because he committed an error.”
“What was the error?”
“He was so impetuous that he violated rules in dealing with civilians.”
“Was he discharged for that reason?”
The officer continued to say: After being discharged, Jo went back to his native home and worked at a farm. He made up his mind to rejoin the army and rectify his error. He went to the construction site where his company was seconded, and worked with devotion. Everyone was sympathizing with the man but nobody thought of rehabilitating him. Later he rejoined the army according to Kim Jong Il’s instructions.
After listening to the officer’s story, the General said, “Well, his name was familiar to me. So he achieved a lot as the political instructor of this company.”
Then he continued that he had inspected many army units but had not witnessed such a meticulous lifestyle.
“We should raise Jo Kyong Gu to prominence. He deserves high commendation. What kind of commendation is suitable for him?”
“Some time ago we submitted a proposal of giving him commendation but it was shelved because of his erroneous past.”
“We must give him commendation. High commendation!”
Kim Jong Il resumed: He is a man to be reckoned with. The political instructor is laudable indeed. He is highly esteemed by all. Such an officer who lives in the memory of the people is a good man.
Later the title of Labour Hero was conferred on the officer and a feature film produced about him.