Air raid sirens echoed through the city of Shenyang, northeast China's Liaoning Province, at 9:18 am on Friday, to mark the 89th anniversary of the "Sept. 18 Incident."

It was on this fateful day in 1931 when Japanese troops blew up a section of the railway near Shenyang under their control and accused Chinese troops of sabotage as a pretext for subsequent aggression.

Apart from Shenyang, 13 other cities in the province sounded air raid sirens while cars came to a halt and honked their horns with citizens standing in silent tribute, to mark this dark chapter of history.

Early in the morning, citizens gathered at a bell-tolling ceremony in the 9.18 Historical Museum in Shenyang. Fourteen representatives from various walks of life struck the bell 14 times, symbolizing the 14 years of fight against Japanese aggressors by the Chinese people.

"We should not forget history and those who sacrificed their lives for us," said Li Weibo, an 88-year-old veteran. "Life is getting better now, but we should exercise caution against dangers even in times of calm and work together to make our country stronger."