Wilma van Duyn, who lost her sister in the MH17 disaster, says being at the opening of a memorial near Amsterdam brings “the final piece of closure” she needs.
Yvonne Ryder and her husband Arjen, from Albany in Western Australia, were among 298 people killed when the Malaysian Airlines plane was shot down by a Buk missile over Ukraine three years ago.
The van Duyns attended the opening overnight of a memorial near Amsterdam featuring 298 trees planted for each victim. Of those killed, 38 were Australian citizens or residents.
Van Duyn said before the ceremony it was good to come and see how the Dutch, who lost 196 people on MH17, paid tribute to those lost.
“It’s good for me because it’s the final piece of closure because this was where she last was, Holland.
“We are a very Christian family so we have that strong belief and comfort that they are in a better place.”
The van Duyns brought banksia, kangaroo paw and other favourite flowers of the Ryders to lay by their memorial trees.
During the ceremony more than 50 relatives read out the names and ages of those lost, many in tears with their voices breaking with emotion.
MH17 Disaster Foundation chairman Evert van Zijtveld, who lost his two children on the flight, told the gathering their loved ones went on a journey in July 2014 “and this memorial forest symbolically unites them again”.
He said the foundation would not give up or be silenced “until those who are responsible have been brought to justice.
The monument is in the shape of a ribbon and was inspired by the black memorial ribbon used to symbolise mourning after the plane was hit and broke apart over Ukraine’s dispute Donetsk region on July 17, 2014.
A Dutch-led investigation, including Australians, concluded last September that the Buk missile was fired by a launcher in rebel-held territory in Ukraine after crossing from Russia.
Russia has insisted the plane was brought down by the Ukrainian military.
The Australian government on Sunday reaffirmed its commitment to bringing the perpetrators to justice, with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop saying the Dutch-led prosecution was “independent, fair and transparent”. AAP