‘Liv­ing trib­ute’ to flight vic­tims

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

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

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