A day of mourning

Today, our country is in mourning. We mourn the passengers and crew who died needlessly when MH-17 was shot down over the Ukraine by pro-Russian separatists. Our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Timmermans held an emotional speech at the UN, to repatriate the bodies of the victims. Today, at 4 pm, a minute of silence is held throughout the nation, as the first 40 wooden coffins arrived at Eindhoven airport. As I write this, the procession of 40 hearses is arriving at Hilversum. The coming days, as more flights arrive, the same ceremony will be repeated: a single bugle call – the military farewell – and each coffin is carried by military personnel from the plane to the hearses.

See the Dutch report here. See the CNN report here.

We did not personally know anyone on the plane, but many friends and colleagues did know one or more of the 193 Dutch victims. Many of them families with children who were on vacation. Three families lived nearby, in Hilversum. But there were victims of all nationalities, and we mourn all of them today.

As I write this, the procession of 200 hearses is arriving at Hilversum, where the identification of the bodies will take place. There were so many people along the roads, paying their respects to the victims. Not all victims have arrived yet. It really could have been any of us, everyone here is in a state of emotional shock.

All throughout the land, flags are half-mast. Here’s a picture of our flag at home:
vlag halfstok


See the In Memoriam here: rouwadvertentie-mh17

I find some solace in the words of John Steinbeck and Patrick Swayze:

John Steinbeck, American author
It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.

Patrick Swayze, American actor
When those you love die, the best you can do is honor their spirit for as long as you live. You make a commitment that you’re going to take whatever lesson that person or animal was trying to teach you, and you make it true in your own life… It’s a positive way to keep their spirit alive in the world, by keeping it alive in yourself.


both quotes are from http://dying.about.com/od/thegrievingprocess/fl/Words-of-Inspiration-Grief-Loss-and-Mourning.htm


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