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Military family brings pride to Harbin woman

Updated : 2019-08-27

By Tian Xuefei and Zhou Huiying ( China Daily )

For Harbin native Ma Yufen, the biggest regret in her life is that her daughter didn't become a soldier, even though her husband and three sons made great contributions to the military camps.

Ma, 84, a retired worker from a public institution in Harbin, capital city of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, had a dream of becoming a soldier since childhood.

However, her father believed that girls should put family first, so she was asked to marry at an early age.

In 1952, on a blind date her parents arranged, she met Zhang Guosheng, a soldier who featured prominently in the Liaoshen Campaign and the war to resist US aggression and aid North Korea (DPRK).

The two young people fell in love at first sight and got married in 1953.

"I felt quite happy that I could marry a brave soldier, even though I had to face more difficulties in life," she said.

After five years of life with her husband and his troops in the Great Khingan Mountains area, Heilongjiang, she returned to Harbin in accordance with the policy.

In the following eight years, she devoted herself to looking after their parents and four children, but she never complained to her husband.

"My husband is an honorable soldier. The army and the country need him more than I do," she always repeated to herself at that time.

Unfortunately,Ma was told that her husband died in an accident when she had been out of touch with him for quite a long time in June 1966.

During training to throw live grenades, a nervous recruit tossed one into the middle of several soldiers. After pushing them aside, Zhang held the grenade to his body and was killed with the explosion.

"When I got the news, my world was shattered, but I had to soon put away my sadness," Ma recalled. "I needed to be strong enough to support the family."

In 1971, she sent her eldest son Zhang Yanbin to join the army at the age of 17.

"I have waited for this day for five years," she told the leader of the troop receiving her son. "I'm sure his father would be happy to see his son in uniform."

Zhang Yanbin didn't disappoint his mother. He performed very well in the army in the fields of military technology and cultural quality.

In 1973, shesent her second son Zhang Yanchun to the army at the age of 15.

Misfortune struck the young woman again.

In 1974, Zhang Yanbin became seriously injured during military construction, making him permanently blind forever.

At about the same time, Zhang Yanchun became seriously ill and finally died in the winter of 1979.

After the funeral, she sent her youngest son to the army to be an armed police soldier.

"In my mind,soldiers are the most glorious," she said. "I feel quite proud and happy without any regret, even though I have suffered much pain."

Ma also wished to donate her corneas after death, so she may help some soldiers who are in need.

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