Snow, Tears Capture Mood As North Korea Mourns Kim

Posted December 28th, 2011 at 9:30 am (UTC-5)
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North Korea's harsh winter weather seemed to capture perfectly the somber mood of the nation as it mourned the loss of its late leader Kim Jong Il.

The funeral procession began early Wednesday under gray skies. A light snowfall grew heavy as the morning progressed, covering the streets of Pyongyang with a blanket of fresh, white snow and obscuring visibility for the state media's television cameras.

A black limousine with a huge portrait of the late leader led the procession through the city, followed by another limousine with Mr. Kim's flag-draped coffin resting atop on a bed of white flowers.

Bitterly weeping mourners lined the streets, many wailing and flailing their arms in grief as soldiers struggled to keep them from spilling onto the road.

Images broadcast on North Korea's state television showed Mr. Kim's son and successor, Kim Jong Un, dressed in a dark overcoat, hand raised in salute, walking alongside his father's hearse as it returned to the huge square of the Kumsusan Memorial Palace.

Walking behind him was his influential uncle Jang Song Thaek, senior party officials Kim Ki Nam and Choe Thae Bok, military chief Ri Yong Ho, armed forces minister Kim Yong Chun and senior military officer Kim Jong Gak.

Soldiers filled the square as a color guard marched and a military band played solemn music. Dozens of members of the honor guard, fired their rifles in a gun salute.

Mourning will officially end Thursday with a nationwide memorial service.