North Korea on Saturday marked the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War armistice with a large scale parade of soldiers and military hardware in Kim Il Sung Square. Only a few Americans were officially invited to witness the parade.
For North Korea this is a victory celebration and a show of strength both to its own people and the rest of the world that it stands ready to fight again. The Director General of the political bureau of the country's military Choe Ryong Hae, told the crowd that the country's military and people along with the party would surely fulfill the lofty dreams of those heroes and warriors of the 1950s.
At the head of the parade were veterans mostly in their 80s and 90s, sitting in the back of open trucks. They are considered heroes for helping to save their country in the war against the US led UN troops following North Korea's invasion of South Korea in 1950. Here America is blamed for starting that war. The US, with which North Korea has no diplomatic relations is still considered the enemy.
Rows of tanks and other mobile armored weapons rolled past. all of it stenciled on front "Let's annihilate the US imperial aggressors, the blood enemy of the Korean people."
Thousands of soldiers goose stepped, some wearing medals glistening in the bright sun on one of the warmest days of the year in Pyongyang.
Also on parade, large 16 wheel flatbed trucks carrying medium range ballistic missiles which army officers told VOA news are capable of hitting the US pacific state of Hawaii.
MiG jet fighters streaked by, heading north to south, and at low altitude helicopters dangled banners which read "We will protect Marshall Kim Jong Un at the cost of our lives."
The young third generation leader did not address the crowd, but after thousands of cheering citizens paraded by shouting his name, Mr. Kim, with Chinese vice president Li Yuanchao at his side, waved to the crowd from a shaded balcony above huge portraits of his late grandfather and father, the country's founder and eternal president Kim Il Sung and Generalissimo Kim Jong Il.