Bruce Dickinson, frontman of the legendary heavy metal band Iron Maiden, has been made an honorary citizen of Sarajevo a quarter of a century after he played a concert when the city was under siege during the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia.
The Bosnian capital bestowed the honor on the rock icon on April 6 at a ceremony during a commemoration of the city's liberation in World War II and the 1992 start of the Bosnian Serb siege that killed about 11,000 people, including some 1,500 children.
Dickinson's concert in the Bosnian capital in 1994 "was one of those moments when we in Sarajevo realized we will survive," said City Mayor Abdulah Skaka.
During the siege of Sarajevo, hundreds of thousands of people were bombed and shot at by Bosnian Serb forces from surrounding hills and kept without food, water, and electricity for nearly four years.
One night in December 1994, Dickinson, with the aid of United Nations soldiers, slipped into Sarajevo and played a concert with his solo band, Skunkworks.
The story of the band’s journey to a city cut off from the world, and the concert itself, was immortalized in the 2017 film "Scream For Me Sarajevo."
"While this is a great honor, I think that this award belongs equally to the people of Sarajevo who are still here," Dickinson said in accepting the award.
In his 2017 autobiography "What Does This Button Do?" Dickinson described the scene in Sarajevo as "intense" and life altering.
"We weren't protected, there was no plan and the bullets were real, but…we went anyway," he wrote.
"It changed the way I viewed life, death and other human beings."