A memorial for the victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 shot down over Ukraine three years ago was unveiled near Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands yesterday.
Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, as well as caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte, were among the dignitaries in attendance at Monday’s ceremony along with some 2,000 people commemorating loved ones.
The memorial is 298 trees – one for each person who perished – planted in the shape of a ribbon near Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam where the flight took off, bound for Kuala Lumpur.
It is said that the memorial is modelled after the black ribbon that was the icon for MH17.
Symbolising hope and the future, the trees were planted by relatives on Mar 18 and 25.
The trees surround a curved steel wall sculpture and are encircled by a ring of sunflowers.
The names of the victims were etched on the monument.
Sunflowers are not only a symbol of Ukraine but much of the crash site was in an area abundant with sunflowers.
During the ceremony, the relatives – many of them overcome by emotion – read aloud the names of the victims.
A minute of silence was observed.
The event ended with the Dutch royals leading children to lay sunflowers on the monument.
On Jul 5 the MH17 Joint Investigation Team signalled its intent to press charges against those who perpetrated the crime. The decision to prosecute was made jointly by the Malaysian, Netherlands, Ukraine, Australian and Belgian governments.
The trial would be held in the Netherlands.
According to media reports, the joint investigation team has an “incredible” amount of evidence and are on the verge of naming 100 suspects.