Sirens wailed and bells rang in many places across China on Thursday to remind the nation's citizens of the painful and humiliating history of 77 years ago.
At 9:18 a.m., sirens began to wail in Changchun, capital of the northeastern Jilin Province, with vehicles stopping to mark the moment.
On this day in 1931, northeast China began to resound with the noise of cannons and explosions when Japanese forces attacked the barracks of Chinese troops, marking the beginning of a Japanese invasion and occupation that was to last 14 years.
"It is necessary to make children know this period of history, " said Zhang Yingyu, a primary school teacher in the Museum of Northeast China History of Occupation in Changchun. She led her students here to see a display of wartime articles, pictures and documents relating to the period.
"I hope they can be impressed by this period of history and work hard in the future to build our country into a strong and beautiful nation."
In Qiqihar, northeastern Heilongjiang Province, an emergency evacuation rehearsal was carried out among primary and middle school students across the city as sirens wailed.
"The sirens and rehearsal could raise people's awareness of security and let them master the self-rescue skill in case of emergencies," said Dong Shuyou, organizer of the rehearsal.
Four student representatives in Nankai University in Tianjin, struck a 1.937-meter-tall bell in the campus with a special bar. The height symbolizes the year 1937 when the then prestigious university was bombarded by Japanese troops.
The bell ran nine times, signaling the date of Sept. 18.
"We should remember history and value the present days to strive for the prosperity of our country," said Zhou Yimin, an economics sophomore at the university.
Sirens wailed and bells rang in Chengdu.
(Xinhua News Agency September 19, 2008)