On Wednesday, a highly choreographed three-hour funeral took place for North Korea’s “Dear Leader,” Kim Jong-il.
Tens of thousands of North Koreans lined the streets of Pyongyang for Kim’s 25-mile funeral procession. The procession began and ended at Kumsusan Memorial Palace, where Kim’s father and founder of North Korea, Kim Il-sung, is preserved.
Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong Il’s son and heir, led the funeral procession for his father, which included American cars from the 1950s followed by a fleet of Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
Kim’s coffin was wrapped in a red flag and was preceded by a limousine donning a large smiling portrait of the dictator.
Many of the North Koreans who lined up on Pyongyang’s snowy streets were wailing and beating their chests over the loss of their leader in what some suspect was staged mourning.
“I can’t imagine anyone having genuine sorrow and condolences for this leader, but they’re scared. These are all staged,” analyst Lee Jung-hoon told ABC News.
On the streets of Pyongyang soldiers were witnessed pounding their chests through tears while shouting “father, father,” in Korean.
Television and radio announcers proclaimed that the heavy snow falling during Kim Jong-il’s funeral was a symbol of “heaven’s grief” over the loss of North Korea’s “Dear Leader” and said that it served as a reminder of the snowy day Kim Jong-il was born.
“How can the sky not cry? The people … are all crying tears of blood,” one soldier told North Korean state television at the funeral.
Another soldier described the funeral as “heart ripping.”
Kim died on Dec. 17 of a heart attack, according to state media. His 17-year reign as the leader of North Korea was defined by an iron-fisted rule and the establishment of a cult personality surrounding his leadership.
Wednesday’s ceremony will be followed by a memorial service on Thursday.
To view a video of Kim Jong Il’s funeral procession, please click below.