News of hostage-taking in high school No. 1 in the North Ossetian city of Beslan spread throughout the world on September 1, 2004. A squad of terrorists seized the school building during the celebration of Knowledge Day, when schoolchildren and their parents took part in the celebrations.
For about three days, the terrorists held hostage more than a thousand people – children, parents, school teachers. The terrorists refused to provide hostages with water, food and necessary medicines for more than 50 hours.
Any contacts with law enforcement authorities were refused. The only person who was allowed entry into the school building was the ex-president of the Republic of Ingushetia, Ruslan Aushev. He was able to agree on the release of 25 women with newly born babies.
An operation to free the hostages was launched on September 3, 2004. It took lives of 334 people, including 186 children, parents, local residents and law enforcement officers. 31 terrorists were killed. The school building was almost completely destroyed. Those alive, in addition to the injuries received during the storming of the school building, experienced a severe psychological shock.
In 2004-2005, the City of Angels memorial cemetery was built in Beslan. A monument “The Tree of Sorrow”, representing a tree trunk formed by four female figures was opened on the territory of cemetery.