SHENYANG, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Air defense sirens sounded on Wednesday morning across China to observe the 82nd anniversary of the Japanese invasion.
Sirens began sounding at 9:18 a.m. and lasted for three minutes in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province, where the Japanese army began its assault.
Meanwhile, cars on nine roads, 18 streets and other areas in the city stopped and drivers blew their horns.
It was the 18th time sirens and horns sounded in the city to remind people of the national humiliation, a routine that began in 1995.
People also gathered in front of the "9.18 Historical Museum" to attend a ceremony in which a bell was struck to warn people not to forget the past and be vigilant in times of peace.
"I will remember today and the September 18 incident for the rest of my life," said Sun Xiu, a university student who observed the ceremony.
"We commemorate the war anniversary in pursuit of peace," said Wang Jianxue, deputy head of China Association of Historians Studying Modern Chinese Historical Materials.
Similar commemorations were staged in other cities across China. Sirens sounded in 13 other cities in Liaoning. In the east China city of Hefei, an air defense drill was organized among local residents after the siren.
On Sept. 18, 1931, Japanese troops blew up a section of the railway under its control near Shenyang, then accused Chinese troops of sabotage as a pretext for attack. They bombarded barracks near Shenyang the same evening, beginning a large-scale armed invasion of northeast China.
The incident was followed by Japan's full-scale invasion of China and the rest of Asia, triggering a 14-year war of resistance against Japanese aggression.
China's volunteers announced on the special day that they will offer 1,500 medals to veterans who fought the Japanese invaders as a sign of their respect for the veterans.
According to ilaobing.com, a website that raises money to help veterans, people have offered to pay for more than 3,000 veterans medals carved with the words "presented respectfully to our national hero who deterred the enemy for independence and freedom of China."
"For veterans, medals signify honor and recognition," said Zhang Yan, cultural researcher with Shaanxi Academy of Social Sciences.