School No.1

When the first shots fired, 11-year-old Zarina Albegaeva mistook them for fireworks. 

Then she remembers running. 

It was September 1, 2004, the start of school, a cause for celebration throughout all of Russia. 

Students were dressed in their best: girls in spotless white pinafores and boys in dress shirts buttoned to the collar.

A group of terrorists took Zarina, her sister and 1,200 people hostage in School No.1 in Beslan, a small town in Russia republic of North Ossetia.

Two days later, 334 of people were dead. Among them parents, teachers, and more than half, children.

Now 21, Zarina still has trouble talking about what happened.

"I don't want to remember," she says.

Zarina’s sister was among the people killed at School No.1, an event that has come to define Beslan.

A decade later, I returned to the tiny town to meet former hostages. Together we journeyed to the school. 

This is their story. 

2014

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