This American Walks With You

Alright, no lies from me – I’m writing this while on the brink of exhaustion so I will do my best to make sense. Promise.

Yesterday was March 24. To some people in the world, this was just the fourth day of Spring. And by Spring I mean by technicalities only as most of the world is experiencing crazy cold weather and snow. March 24 is also another day for people here in Serbia. It marks the anniversary of the 1999 NATO bombings that plagued Serbia for 78 days from March 24 – June 10, 1999.

Fourteen years have passed since the bombings started here in Serbia causing havoc, distress, and more pain and suffering than ever deserved. Ninety-nine percent of us foreigners will never understand what Serbs when through during those times. We can try to place ourselves in their places, but we’ll still not comprehend it.

On the night of the 24th, a walk of remembrance was held here in Belgrade. It started from Saint Sava Temple and ended at the demolished Ministry of Defense buildings. Now, the walk was supposed to originally be in silence or close to, with candles lit, and a true solemn atmosphere.

However, that’s not what happened. It turned into a few chants, and a popular song called “Oj Kosovo” was sung. This did upset a few I found out later, and I have to side with them, but what can you do? Oh well.

But I joined this walk with a friend of mine. Another foreigner that’s visiting. She frequents Serbia and is thoroughly educated about everything happening here so it was enjoyable to have her with me on this walk. Many people approached as they heard us speaking English. And contrary to stereotypes, we were welcomed with open arms. Many were kind of intrigued that we were there. They asked our origins. This brought about photos, hugs, thanks, and appreciate from everyone we encountered.

While the event did not go as it was originally organized, it was still nice to see people come out in the absolute frigid weather and remember those who have been lost, and to understand fully “never surrender and never forget.”

If you want to see photos, and get more of a back story about the 1999 NATO bombings, and everything else I’ve got about the 1999 NATO bombings, check out my blog Trek for Truth (http://trekfortruth.com).