By ZHANG YANGFEI
Sun Jingkun made personal sacrifices to eliminate poverty in his hometown
Sun Jingkun always has a military uniform hung on his wall. It is pinned thickly with the medals he won during service between 1948 and 1955, and according to his eldest daughter, Sun Meili, the first thing he does in the morning is look at them.
The 97-year-old fought in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-53), won a first-class war medal and was congratulated by Mao Zedong personally in 1953, when he returned from the Korean battlefield. On June 29, Sun was awarded the July 1 Medal, an honor given to outstanding Party members as the Communist Party of China celebrates its 100th anniversary.
In October 1952, after a fierce counterattack, Sun's regiment captured the 161 Highland from the United States army. In an attempt to take it back, the opposing side launched a fierce attack, causing heavy casualties.
At the time, there were only six soldiers left alive in Sun's company, the 8th Company of the 3rd Battalion. Armed with grenades, they were ready to give their lives.
To lend support to the front line, Sun assembled nine soldiers from different companies, each carrying a box of grenades, and charged up the 161 Highland. During the battle, Sun and his comrades repelled six counterattacks and held their position, but at great cost.
He said that even all these years later, he misses his comrades who died on the battlefield the most. It was this campaign that earned him a first-class merit.
Years of fighting have left him with more than 20 scars on his body, and there is still a bullet in his leg. Sun Meili said her father rarely watches war films because he said a real battle is far more brutal.
Sun joined the CPC in 1949. When he retired from the military in 1955, he gave up the chance to stay in a city and returned to his home in Shancheng village, Liaoning province. He said that as a Party member, as long as he was able to do something for the people, every position was the same.
In the village, he oversaw grain and vegetable production efforts, planted 130,000 trees and built dams to protect lives and properties from flooding.
In 1984, he organized a poverty relief group and divided his own parcel of land of about 2.67 hectares and gave it to five impoverished families who had moved to the village from Heilongjiang province.
Qiu Dapeng, Party secretary of the village, said: "In Sun Jingkun's heart, the Party, the country and the people always come first. He puts himself last."