'We Have Lost The Sun'

beslan, massacre
CBS
CBS News Correspondent Sheila MacVicar reports for CBSNews.com from the grief-stricken Russian town where 331 people, including many children, were killed by terrorists a year ago.


For a year, Beslan has wept. Not a life here has been left untouched.

For three days last September, terrorists held nearly 1,200 people, many of them children, hostage in an explosives-laced school gym.

On the third day there was an explosion. No one yet knows why. And then there was chaos.

"It's as if all the days have become one," says Zina Varzieva. "We have lost the sun."

They are devastated by the loss of their child. Edik survived. His twin did not.

Alana Alikova's mother was a history teacher. She died in the school. From the small apartment complex where Alana lives in the shadow of the ruins of the school, 30 people died.

There were no words to say, so on the hour of the anniversary of the siege, 331 balloons were set aloft.

In Beslan, there was not only grief, but anger, and an unshakable sense of betrayal.

One year later, people still do not know how this happened — how the terrorists were able to get to this school. The anger here is directed toward Russia's government — such anger that Russian President Vladimir Putin was told not to come here today.

There is no wreath here that bears his name. And though there are three separate investigations, there are few facts and no confidence.

"I don't believe they will find the truth and punish those truly responsible," says Elbrus Varziev.

Representatives of the Beslan families met this week with Putin. It was their first meeting in a year. He has since announced he is effectively taking control of the investigation.

People here need something to bring calm. Too much pain, too much loss, and now, too few answers.