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Tearful DPRK bids final farewell to Kim Jong Il

(Xinhua)

08:30, December 29, 2011

PYONGYANG, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- On a gray, snowy Wednesday, tens of thousands of weeping Koreans bade a final farewell to the nation's late leader Kim Jong Il.

"Fatherly General, don't go please!" "Don't leave us behind alone, please!" citizens of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea sobbed as a limousine carrying a huge portrait of a smiling Kim passed by.

The ceremony to bid a last farewell to Kim Jong Il began in the plaza of the Kumsusan Memorial Palace at 1 p.m. local time (0400 GMT).

Kim Jong Un, the late leader's third son and vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and supreme leader of the WPK, state and army, walked with his left hand on the hearse carrying his father's coffin. His right hand was raised in salute.

A military troupe on the square played the national anthem, as the country's flags were lowered to half-mast.

The cortege moved slowly into downtown Pyongyang, where hundreds of thousands of tearful people lined the 40-km route, wailing, stamping, and beating their chests in grief for Kim Jong Il. Some people were so overcome with grief that they fell to the ground.

After circling the capital city, the motorcade returned to the Kumsusan Memorial Palace.

As the final moment of the last farewell was near, soldiers and the Korean people could hardly contain their grief.

More and more people surged toward the cortege trying to catch a last glimpse of the hearse. Saluting guns fired 21 times to pay respects to the late leader.

"Snow fell over the streets nonstop as if the sky had shared sadness with the Korean people who grieve over the loss of the sun of the nation," the official KCNA news agency reported.

"General, our father, it's snowing. How ardently we wished you safety while singing the song 'General, Do not walk on snowy day' whenever we had snow. General, how can you pass so untimely and so suddenly?" a chokeing voice was heard from Chollima Street, the KCNA said.

As the cortege passed through the streets of Pyongyang, many Koreans took off their coats and scarves to cover the road, echoing the song "General, do not walk on snowy day," wishing their late leader good health and safety on his last trip with the Korean people.

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