‘Living tribute’ to flight victims
their loved ones, according to media reports.
Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima will join government and international officials at a solemn ceremony to dedicate the memorial, the Agence FrancePresse reported.
The names of all the 298 passengers and crew killed in the disaster will be read out by their families, and local children will lay flowers, AFP added.
While most of the victims were Dutch, passengers on the plane also included Australians, Britons, Malaysians and Indonesians, among others.
“Whoever did it should be brought to justice. That’s the only story I can share with anyone,” Evert van Zijtveld, a bereaved Dutch father who lost his two teenage children in the tragedy, told local media on Thursday ahead of the third anniversary of the disaster.
In March, relatives of the victims planted the trees which symbolize “hope” and “future” in many cultures, according to the monument’s official website.
“We not only want to honor the MH17 victims, but also want to create a place where everyone can keep their memories of the 298 passengers alive. Every victim’s life will live on metaphorically through these memorial trees,” said the website.
The ribbon will be surrounded by a ring of sunflowers, which blossom during the month of July. The sunflowers also refer to the sunflower fields in eastern Ukraine where some parts of the plane wreckage were found, the website added.
One apple tree has been dedicated to 16-year-old Gary Slok, from Rotterdam, whose body has still not yet been identified.
“It’s nice to think that he has a tree, since we have not received his body. We don’t want Gary to be forgotten. We don’t want any of the 298 victims to be forgotten,” his father Jan Slok, told the daily AD newspaper.
The 16-meter-long steel eyebrow above the eye represents “the burden of the loss,” the Trouw daily said, adding with time it will rust, a symbol of the slow passage of pain. The victims’ names are also engraved in the pupil of the eye.
Though no suspects have been arrested, some progress is being made in the investigation.
In September, a report published by the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team concluded that the plane was shot down by a Russian-made Buk missile fired from a region in eastern Ukraine, controlled by independence-seeking insurgents.
Moscow and the rebel leadership in eastern Ukraine have denied the allegation, saying the plane was shot by a missile from the territory controlled by Ukrainian government troops.
It’s nice to think that he has a tree, since we have not received his body. We don’t want Gary to be forgotten.” Jan Slok, father of 16-year-old victim Gary Slok