KRALJEVO, Serbia, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of Serbian people with lit candles and tear-stained eyes marked the 23rd anniversary of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia at a remembrance day ceremony here on Thursday.
A key event of the Remembrance Day for the Victims of the NATO Aggression was held at a square in the center of the Serbian city of Kraljevo, a city that was among the most frequent targets during the 78-day NATO aggression on Yugoslavia.
Speaking to representatives from the government, military, police, and citizens, Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic described the aggression as a "brutal, horrible, criminal, inhuman attack on a small country."
He reminded the audience that NATO bombs, including cluster bombs and depleted uranium, destroyed tens of thousands of houses, along with schools, hospitals, and even kindergartens.
"We will not kneel and we will not beg, we want to keep the memory of the victims and we will never forget what you did to this country and people," he said.
In 1999, the U.S.-led NATO forces carried out continuous airstrikes for 78 days against Yugoslavia, leaving more than 8,000 civilians dead or injured and nearly 1 million displaced.
Some local residents told Xinhua that they felt strong emotions while recalling the bombing, which they all described as a horrible page in their lives.
Dragan Stanojevic, who is from Kraljevo, recalled that one of the first bombs fell here at the Ladjevci military airport.
"I felt this moment very strongly ... In this city, many people died at the hands of the NATO ... I keep only the worst memories from this time, and I wouldn't like anyone to experience war as it happened here," he said.
Ana, who was born in Pristina and now lives in Belgrade, said that her hometown was heavily bombed during the war.
"It was really painful to travel back into that past. I was just a kid and it left a huge scar on my life. The bombing left ruins everywhere in my hometown, and the invasion paralysed our nation," Ana said.