Sixth anniversary of MH17 disaster commemorated digitally today
Six years ago today flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. Due to the coronavirus, their loved ones can't gather physically to commemorate this anniversary. Instead the physical commemoration will only be attended by a handful of people and broadcast live so that others can remember the victims from home.
Ria van der Steen, who lost her father and stepmother in the crash, organized this digital commemoration as board member of the foundation Vliegramp MH17. "It is good that we stop to think about it. And it is a signal that we want to send: because this should never happen again," she said to NOS.
According to her, the commemoration was anyway going to be scaled down this year. "After last year, we conducted a survey among the relatives. It turned out that we want a big commemoration every five years and in between only with the next of kin."
This year has been a difficult one for the surviving relatives, with the trial against the first four suspects of the downing of the plane starting in March. But today is not about the trial or the suspects, Van der Steen said. Today is about the loved ones they lost. "The important thing is to read the names and the minute of silence. That's what matters to us."
This afternoon, Van der Steen will be one of five people present at the ceremony at the MH17 memorial site in Vijhuizen. "We will stand there with four board members and a trumpet player playing the Last Post Furthermore, only the cameras that record it will be present." The commemoration can be followed live from 2:00 p.m. on NOS.