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North Korea pays tribute to Kim Jong Il's 'threadbare and discolored' parka

KCNA, KNS via AFP - Getty Images

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (center) wears his famous parka while inspecting the Pyongyang Silk Mill factory on January 17, 2009.

Updated at 12:04 p.m. ET: BEIJING – Only days before the first anniversary of Kim Jong Il's death, the stirring tributes to North Korea's late strongman referred to reverently there as "The Dear Leader" have begun in earnest.

North Korean state media, KCNA, posted a stirring celebration of Kim on Monday which included a video tribute entitled "Kim Jong Il is immortal as sun" as well as an opinion piece that fondly remembered him as a "peerless sage of mankind, possessed with warm humanity, broad magnanimity and noble sense of moral obligation."

As kind as that line was, state media saved its warmest words not for Kim, but for his jacket. And not just any jacket: his "threadbare and discolored" parka.

In a radio essay entitled "Parka of Kim Jong Il during his field guidance" on North Korean broadcasting service, Voice of Korea, the former leader's weathered jacket is hailed time and again as a "symbol of the Songun revolution," or the North Korean principle championed throughout the Kim dynasty of "military first revolutionary leadership."

Set to swelling nationalist music, the reader's voice rises and falls lyrically for nearly four glorious minutes, opening the piece with a verbose expression of national grief over the passing of Kim.

"One year has passed since everything writhed in agony and the people's wailing swept the whole country at the thunderbolt-like news that Kim Jong Il on the forced march of high intensity for the people had passed away on the running train in December last year."

Kcna / AFP - Getty Images

A pictorial look at the North Korean leader through the years

The reader continues by telling the emotional story behind the great parka -- which is described as an "incredible witness of history." 

"With ardent yearning for Kim Jong Il .... the Korean people warmly look back again upon his noble life," the reader says. "They are reminded of the parka worn by him until the last period of his life.

"One day great Kim Jong Il, while giving important instructions to officials, referred to his parka," the reader breathlessly recounts, "He [Kim] earnestly said: 'I began to wear this parka from the arduous march after the demise of President Kim Il Sung. I am still wearing this, unable to forget the grim history.'"

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As the story goes, Kim Jong Il wore the jacket for more than 10 years -- or for "so long that it became threadbare and discolored."

The reader added: "His parka was that of a great father, with which he kept all the people on this land from snow, rain and cold."

The state news agency in North Korea reports they have found an ancient unicorn lair in the capital, Pyongyang, but experts on the country say this is likely leadership using propaganda to make themselves seem superhuman. NBC's Michelle Kosinski reports.

North Korean eyes today might be on the parka but they will be trained towards the skies later this month as the reclusive nation attempts to launch another rocket into space.

The launch will be North Korea's second this year after a failed launch in April of a Kwangmyongsong-2 rocket.

The announced launch has brought international condemnation from the United States as well as regional neighbors like South Korea, Russia and Japan, the latter of which has threatened to shoot down the rocket.

Even traditional ally China has voiced its concern about the launch, worried that the rocket could heighten tensions in the region.

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