War veteran garners youth literature prize

October 27, 2022

Pang Yong Sim lives in Waudo-dong, Waudo District of Nampho City. The war veteran is now called a “war veteran grandmother poetess” and a “grandmother of bookshop”.  

Visitors can see the certificate of youth literature prize and many books filling a wall of her house in a low-storey apartment house. 

She had purchased the books one by one when she studied literature. But now villagers, young people and schoolchildren visit her home one after another to read the books, turning her house into a bookshop. 

The war veteran still keeps her diary every day and writes poems.

She began to write poems during the Korean war. 

As a teenage girl, she learned to write Korean alphabets for the first time after Korea’s liberation from Japanese military rule and studied to her heart’s content with a dream of becoming a poetess in the future. However, the dark cloud of war hanged over the country soon.  

Such valuable dream compelled the young girl to jump into the flames of war without hesitation. 

In great excitement she felt an irresistible impulse to write poems.

So she wrote poems and kept her diary every day.

Serving as a nurse in a field hospital, she often recited her simple poems to the wounded soldiers and comrades-in- arms.  

Seeing the soldiers renewing their will to annihilate the enemy as they heard her crude poems, she realized how effective a piece of writing was in encouraging the people. 

She was seriously injured while rescuing wounded soldiers from the enemy bombing and discharged from the military service. And she graduated from the then teachers’ training school and became a teacher.

Later, she studied literature to her heart’s content through the study-while-you-work educational system. 

Poem was just her life and her life was just poem.

She wrote poems again and again by reflecting her ardent love for the country and hatred towards the enemy not only when she taught children at school, but also when the wartime wound became so serious again that she could not teach them any longer. 

It was because she hoped fervently that her poems would serve as ideological and spiritual food for the new generations, though little. 

Her poems were carried by magazine Youth Literature several times to find great favour with young readers. 

In the course of it, her poem “I will live forever as a soldier” won the youth literature prize.

“I often remember my comrades-in-arms who sacrificed their lives without hesitation for the future of the country that would prosper. At that time I harden my resolve to write more good poems which will help implant the spirit of the generation of war victors in the minds of the rising generations,” said Pang. 


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