"Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather." -- Sima Qian
A soldier in the People's Liberation Army, Zhang Side served as Mao Zedong's bodyguard and survived the Long March only to die making charcoal on September 5, 1944. Our selection for today is the report Mao delivered to commemorate his life three days later. As with his eulogy of Norman Bethune, Mao spent little time on the substance of the man and passed quickly to the significance of his life's work. The result was a political call to action as much as a call to grief.
The principle of Serve the People, enshrined as a Communist principle for the first time here, would later become one of the core ideological pillars of the Chinese Communist Party. It was championed by Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong and remains a prominent political slogan today.