The Recognition of a Hard Working Soldier
Commemorating the promotion of Lee Sang Chul
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With great hopes and expectations as we move into 2018, excellent news has already shown itself within mere days since the beginning of the new year. Congratulations are in order, as our proud alumnus Lee Sang Chul (Department of Economics, 90’) was promoted to a brigadier general on January 3rd. To use a term more familiar to the public, a brigadier general is also known as a one-star general. As much as this advancement is a great honor, News H interviewed Lee to ask how he felt about the promotion as well as some recollections from his days as a university student in the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC).
The newly appointed brigadier general
An intense air of responsibility lingered in every answer that Lee had about his new position. Taken with a heavy heart, he referred to his promotion as a strict order from the country to achieve “defense, prosperity, and unification.” He also took the moment to newly engrave his attitude as a soldier, reorganizing himself to fully take on his mission. “This promotion is not a simple rise in ranking, but a delivery of an immense role and responsibility to promote national security and military development.” Regarding his specific position, Lee will now serve as the education-training director of the Second Operational Command. He will supervise the various educational trainings conducted on military bases and camps below the Chungcheong province. As a person directing the complete process of planning, conducting, and circulation of the trainings that will maintain the combat capabilities of our troops, Lee is burdened with an unmeasurable responsibility.
Lee with President Moon at his promotion ceremony
(Photo courtesy of Lee Sang Chul)
Despite this intense pressure of the position, Lee answered that he is extremely happy to receive numerous words of congratulations and encouragement from people around him. After the promotion ceremony held on the 3rd, he visited the Hanyang ROTC as well as the president of the university to share his honor. He also recollected the opportunity to attend the Hanyang new year ceremony, where he met with the chairman of the board and the president of the Hanyang alumni association. Furthermore, he is also taking the time to visit his hometown, Yongin, to get together with family members and friends. However, now that the ceremony and education as a brigadier general is over, he wishes to focus wholly on his new duties. Regarding his aspirations, he does not wish to use his newly granted authority to initiate an abrupt change. “As the social paradigm constantly changes, so does the military." Lee aims to steer this change with a “noblesse obliges” mindset by acting as a role model who fulfills his ethical responsibilities.
Lee as a student
One thing that he had set clearly from his freshman year was his goal of becoming a soldier. His grandfather passed away while fighting in the Korean War. Lee's father also fought in the North Korean Guerilla Invasion in Uljin and Samcheok, returning home through a hardship discharge. Although his family influenced him greatly in forming his aspiration to become a soldier, Lee also thought that the opportunity to commit himself to national security was a great honor, a belief he holds to this day. Since entering the ROTC in March of 1988, he has served in the military for nearly 30 years. Lee considers himself extremely lucky, as every advance in his military rank was successful on the first attempt. Furthermore, of the 3533 officers commissioned from the 28th class of the ROTC, he was the only person to advance to a brigadier general.
"I feel privileged to be able to serve my country, and I consider myself an extremely lucky person."
(Photo courtesy of Lee Sang Chul)
Lee as a soldier
Regarding the ups-and-downs of being a soldier, Lee answered that he shares the same hardship of every other professional soldier, which is the constant necessity to move. He had moved a total of 19 times throughout his service. He was most concerned with his children, who had to move from schools and neighborhoods with him. He felt that his life as a soldier was also forced upon his children, who sometimes complained of never having a “hometown friend.” On that point, he was apologetic and also very grateful to his children for having grown up with young minds and aspirations. Meanwhile, Lee had a long list of answers for the “ups” of his profession. He answered that he always feels a warm sensation whenever he thinks that his service provides the groundwork for which the nation can live happily and comfortably. “My heart still pounds when I recall my days in the Gangwon province as a company commander. My subordinates and I circled around security posts in the front lines, where the winter temperatures dropped to minus 20-30 degrees Celsius.” Lee also provided military security in grand national events, such as the G-20 Summit or the World Championship in Athletics. He replied that nothing felt more proud than having supported the successful hosting of an international event that advanced his country.
His life lessons
As a word of advice for students of Hanyang, Lee referred to his previous answer about him being a fortunate person. Although he considers himself lucky, it never dawned on him that the course of his life was a debt to coincidence. During his past 30 years of military service, he always regarded his duties as top priorities. He also constantly worked to his limit and attempted to achieve harmony with his surroundings. Lee referred to the quote, “God helps those who help themselves,” and encouraged students to do the best they can in every moment. Lee recognized that for students, it is a time to form life goals and values that they will pursue throughout their lives. “People in their 20’s have health and energy like no one else, so there is nothing they cannot achieve if they have a dream and work hard to realize it.” However, he also desired to add that that goal will shine even more when it aligns with a humanitarian value. “In other words, I wish for students to establish goals not only for themselves but for the society, and to a larger extent, humanity.”
Lee Changhyun email@example.com
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