On third MH17 an­niver­sary, fam­i­lies un­veil ‘liv­ing me­mo­rial’

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Vi­jfhuizen, Nether­lands - Three years af­ter Flight MH17 was shot down by a mis­sile over war-torn Ukraine, nearly 2,000 rel­a­tives gath­ered on Mon­day to un­veil a ‘liv­ing me­mo­rial’ to their loved ones.

A to­tal of 298 trees have been planted in the shape of a green rib­bon, one for each of the vic­tims who died on board the Malaysia Air­lines flight en route from Am­s­ter­dam to Kuala Lumpur.

Dutch King Willem-Alexan­der and Queen Maxima joined gov­ern­ment and in­ter­na­tional of­fi­cials at a solemn cer­e­mony to ded­i­cate the me­mo­rial in the park of Vi­jfhuizen, close to Am­s­ter­dam’s Schiphol air­port from where the flight took off from on July 17, 2014.

The names of all the 298 pas- sen­gers and crew killed in the dis­as­ter were read out by their emo­tional fam­i­lies, and the Dutch roy­als and oth­ers laid flow­ers.

While most of the vic­tims were Dutch, there were 17 na­tion­al­i­ties on board in­clud­ing Aus­tralians, Bri­tons, Malaysians and In­done­sians.

“It’s three years to the day that MH17 was shot down in mid-air,” said Evert van Zi­jtveld, the head of as­so­ci­a­tion of the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies.

“But for us it was yes­ter­day. That day... left a void in our lives. There is a life be­fore and af­ter July 17, 2014.”

“These vic­tims can never be for­got­ten,” he said. “This mon­u­ment is for now and for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

‘A tree sym­bol­ises ‘hope’ and ‘fu­ture’ in many cul­tures’, the vic­tims' fam­i­lies as­so­ci­a­tion said in a state­ment. ‘We not only want to hon­our the MH17 vic­tims, but also want to cre­ate a place where ev­ery­one can keep their mem­o­ries of the 298 pas­sen­gers alive’.

Funded by do­na­tions, the pro­ject was de­signed by artist Ron­ald A Wester­huis and land­scape ar­chi­tect Rob­bert de Kon­ing af­ter it was cho­sen out of three pro­pos­als by rel­a­tives in late 2015.


Dutch King Willem-Alexan­der (cen­tre, left) and Queen Maxima (cen­tre) at­tend the un­veil­ing of the Na­tional Mon­u­ment for the MH17 vic­tims, in Vi­jfhuizen on Mon­day

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