North Korea is mourning the death one year ago of leader Kim Jong Il, in a special memorial ceremony led by his son and successor Kim Jong Un.
The North's official Korean Central News Agency reported Monday that hundreds of thousands of people stood silent and still outside the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun Mausoleum in the capital, Pyongyang. The current leader's father and grandfather are permanently lying in state in the mausoleum.
A siren sounded as a signal to begin three minutes of silence, which was observed across the country and even by ships at sea. The nation came to a halt to observe the moment one year ago, when Kim Jong Il died of a heart attack, 20 years after taking power upon the death of his father – the nation's founder – Kim Il Sung.
Several scientists who worked on the North's successful long-range rocket launch last week were among the first to pay tribute. The country's current leader did not speak but watched over the proceedings.
Three generations of the Kim family have ruled North Korea with an iron fist for more than six decades.