CHANGCHUN, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Being honest and trustworthy are the traditional virtues of the Chinese nation.
Chinese people have had a tradition of living up to their promises since ancient times. As China's famous educator and philosopher Confucius (551-479 B.C.) rightly said -- "faithfulness" is the foundation of being a person, and if he or she is not honest, one will lose the basic conditions for being a human.
He listed "faithfulness" as one of the "four major subjects" and "five norms" to educate students. He also emphasized the importance of "keeping one's word" and believed that only by doing so could one be "trusted" by others.
Xu Zhenming who was elected as a national model of high morality is considered to have set a good example for being honest and trustworthy.
Xu has spent 22 years in his life, guarding the cemetery of General Yang Jingyu, a renowned Chinese military commander and hero of the anti-Japanese war.
After Xu Zhenming's retirement, his son Xu Yongjun took over his mission, keeping their promise to guard the revolutionary hero's cemetery in Tonghua City, northeast China's Jilin Province.
Xu Zhenming always said, "Yang Jingyu is our veteran. I will never change my mind to guard his cemetery in my life."
General Yang Jingyu was sent to northeast China to fight Japanese troops in 1932 and later served as the commander of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army. He fought to the end and died on the battlefield in 1940.
In 1942, Xu Zhenming joined the Eighth Route Army in his hometown in east China's Shandong Province and fought against the Japanese troops in many places there. In a battle in Juxian County, he continued to fight bravely despite sustaining serious injuries. Xu was awarded the first-class prize for his exemplary service.
After the surrender of Japan, Xu took part in the War of Liberation. In October 1950, Xu joined the army in the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea.
In 1958, Xu Zhenming took a transfer from the army to work in Yang Jingyu Martyrs Cemetery in Tonghua and became the first director of the management office of the cemetery. "I had many choices at that time but I thought we should inherit and carry forward the revolutionary legacy. I am honored to guard the hero's cemetery," he said.
These words became the oath of Xu Zhenming's life.
When he first arrived at the cemetery, there were only three to four staff members. As a member of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Xu did not quit. "I took the lead in gardening and planting trees, guarding, and cleaning the area. CPC members should be the first to endure hardships and be the last to enjoy themselves," he said.
Thanks to Xu's efforts, the barren mountains in the cemetery have evolved to green hills where flowers blossom in summer.
Xu believes that in addition to everyday care and management, they should help more people know about the history of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army.
He led the staff to go deep into the primeval forest of Changbai Mountain to find the traces of combat involving the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army troops to help enrich literature documents and cultural relics.
Xu Yongjun grew up around the cemetery with his father. Under Xu Zhenming's influence, Xu Yongjun gradually started to admire General Yang Jingyu, but was reluctant to work in the cemetery when his father would ask him to.
"At that time, I used to run a photo booth for tourists visiting the park. I had never thought of taking over my dad to safeguard the cemetery, as I was already making good money," Xu Yongjun said.
Xu Zhenming and his wife did a lot to persuade their son to work in the cemetery. "My mom always told me that your dad worked for 22 years in the cemetery. You should not forget your roots. It is more glorious to engage in a revolutionary cause than to make money."
Xu Yongjun was moved by these words and became a member of the cemetery in 1980. Xu Yongjun now understands how honorable and sacrosanct this job is.
"Over the years, I got many opportunities to change my job but I didn't go for them, as I have already regarded the cemetery as my home and can not abandon it," Xu Yongjun said.
Over the past six decades, this father-son duo has seen the cemetery undergo many changes. In 2004, the government funded the construction of the Memorial Hall of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army in the cemetery, while an official website of the memorial hall has also been launched.
The cemetery has now become a patriotic education base, receiving more than 100,000 visitors every year.
Xu Zhenming used to teach students and soldiers about revolutionary traditions and share his personal experiences.
On Nov. 5 this year, Xu Zhenming was selected as a national model of high morality. Yan Xilan, his daughter-in-law, took the medal from Beijing to his hometown and hung it on Xu's neck the next day.
"My father-in-law is a glorious veteran. After leaving the army, he chose to guard General Yang Jingyu's cemetery. We should take him as an example, inherit our family tradition, and carry forward the spirit of dedication, honesty and trustworthiness," Yan said. Enditem