They will never know their grandfather… NATO took him away before they were born
Lazar (6) and Sofia (3) will never know their grandfather. NATO took him away on Apr 12, 1999. But their grandmother remembers that day. It is a day she will never forget. It was the day NATO killed her husband, a passenger on a civilian train passing through the Grdelica Canyon in southeastern Serbia.
Here’s what Stela Jovanovic, a well known TV personality in Serbia’s third-largest city, Nis, wrote to me eight months later (click here for the full story – “Widow speaks out; How Gen. Clark misled the world“, Jan 2000):
“Targets or mistakes… What difference does that make to me and to my girls? To me, none whatsoever. Because I am convinced that that there are evil people in this world who have already changed my life and that of my daughters in the worst possible way.
But maybe it would make a difference if the truth were spoken, out loud. And if you were to read this letter of mine to those who ordered (the Grdelica train strike), and to those who pressed the button firing the deadly missiles.
We have accepted the death which has been dealt to us in this life. Maybe those who are responsible for our sorrow, and who will answer for it before God or man, have not accepted their sin as a deathly sin that it is… lives lost which cannot be brought back.”
Two years later, on the third anniversary of her husband’s death, Stela sent me another letter. Here’s an excerpt from (“In Memoriam of Grdelica Victims: Clinton, Other US Officials, Accused of War Crimes“, Apr 2002).
April 12’s for the rest of my life will be rainy days
“Whether THAT April 12 (1999) was sunny, or it rained like today… I do not remember. All April 12’s for the rest of my life will be rainy days. They will be the days when sorrow and terrible memories well up; when nothing is able to suppress them.
Today, cold rain was falling, almost like winter rains. They say that when it rains like this, sky is crying.
We were also crying… all of us assembled in the field next to the railroad track on which some other trains are traveling today. Only the train number 393 was stopped here forever.
In the years past, I did not have the strength to come to this horrible place. Today, I watched for the first time the eyes of those who were silently arriving, in groups, with candles and flowers. They stuck the candles between the stones of the embankment, and spread the flowers across the grass, covering the places where death lay on that 12thof wartime 1999 year.
This is where the lives were snuffed out of passengers who thought they were boarding a civilian train to go from Station A to Station B, not to Station Death.”
* * *
And so, Lazar (6) and Sofia (3) will never know their grandfather. NATO took him away before they were even born. His body was never found. R.I.P. But they will know Radomir, their grandfather, through the love and memories which their mothers and the grandmother preserved forever.
I invite you to join me in a prayer for Radomir, Stella and her daughters and grandchildren, as well as for more than 2,600 victims of the NATO 1999 bombing of Serbia.