Major Chen Hongjun,who was commander of a PLA Army battalion stationed in the border defense frontline in deep Karakoram Range, laid down his life in a fight defending China’s border in June 2020.The Central Military Commission conferred posthumously Chen Hongjun the honorary title of "border-defending hero" in February 2021. At the early days of January 2022, his wife received a gift from Chen’s battalion—a special "family portrait". In the photo, Chen Hongjun smiles brightly, matching well with the smiles of his wife and son.
The "family portrait" of Chen Hongjun, his wife Xiao Qianwen and their son. (Courtesy of XiaoQianwen)
This is a special gift prepared by the comrades-in-arms of Chen 's battalion for his family. In the dead of night on January 3, in the camp of a border defense regiment in the Karakoram plateau, Lieutenant Guo Shuai and Sergeant Chen Wei were busy looking for photos of Chen Hongjun. They wanted to make a "family portrait" for him with the aid of the computer.
An hour and a half ago, Guo Shuai received a call from Guo Ziwei, deputy commander of a certain company of Chen Hongjun's battalion. "I just came back from a business trip in Commander Chen's hometown. His wife told me that she has a New Year's resolution, wishing to make a 'family portrait' with the help of the computer. I have the digital photo of his wife holding his son. May I bother you to do this? "
Upon hearing the news, Guo Shuai and Chen Wei wasted no time searching the company's database overnight for the information of Chen Hongjun. As the hours ticked away, they flipped through the photos and files recorded one by one with great care. Chen Hongjun didn't like taking pictures during his lifetime and it was a little bit difficult for them to find photos of him in the database, but they believed there would be one appropriate.
At 3:30 a.m., Guo Shuai ultimately found a photo suitable in a file, in which Chen Hongjun has a bright smile on his face, perfectly fitting he digital photo of his wife and son.
In early 2020, Chen Hongjun's wife, Xiao Qianwen, was pregnant. Chen was overjoyed when hearing the news. "That day, we were in field training. Commander Chen's voice was markedly higher than usual when giving orders, reflecting his joy from the bottom of his heart，" said Chen Wei.
However, when there were still four months before the child was born, Chen Hongjun sacrificed his 33-year young life in the frontline of safeguarding China’s border.
At 4:50 a.m., watching the "family portrait" that was about to be finished, Guo Shuai "reported" to his former battalion commander Chen: "Commander, everything is all right for both your wife and son, 'Little Hongjun'. Your wife has seldom bothered us. This time, she wished for having a "family portrait', and we will try our best to make it..."
At 6 a.m., Guo Shuai contacted Xiao Qianwen via WeChat and sent her the "family portrait".
At noon, Guo Shuai received a call from Xiao Qianwen, saying: "Thank you very much for the 'family portrait' that you sent me. This is the most precious gift for me. Although my husband has passed away, our son will get the appearance of his father in military uniforms engraved in his mind with the 'family portrait'. He will feel that Dad has always been 'with' him."
Before hanging up, Xiao Qianwen told Guo Shuai: "Our son and his father look very much alike, especially his eyes, as bright and intelligent as his father. " Chen Hongjun’s son was born on October 25, 2020, and the day happened to be the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People's Volunteers’ Participation in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea. "I believe this is an inheritance of blood in the unseen world," Xiao Qianwen said.