Australia holds national day of mourning for MH17 victims

August 7, 2014 9:41 am
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Relatives of victims of downed Flight MH17 grieve at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne on August 7, 2014 during a national day of mourning/AFP
Relatives of victims of downed Flight MH17 grieve at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne on August 7, 2014 during a national day of mourning/AFP

, MELBOURNE, August 7- Flags flew at half mast Thursday as Australia held a national day of mourning for those killed in the MH17 crash in Ukraine, a day after experts suspended the search for body parts.

Australia lost 38 citizens and residents, including children, when the Malaysia Airlines plane from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 on board.

Church bells chimed around the country as a memorial service was held at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, chosen as 16 of the Australians who died were from Victoria state.

Melbourne was also the host city for the 20th International AIDS Conference with six delegates heading to the summit among those killed.

Grieving families were joined in the cathedral by dignitaries including Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove.

Abbott told the service that the families of those who died had gone through an unimaginable nightmare.

“Their plane had been shot out of the sky and 298 innocent people murdered, including 38 men, women and children who called Australia home,” he said.

“There will be a time to judge the guilty, but today we honour the dead and we grieve with the living.

“We cannot bring them back, but we will bring them home, as far as we humanly can,” he added.

Melbourne was also the host city for the 20th International AIDS Conference with six delegates heading to the summit among those killed.

Grieving families were joined in the cathedral by dignitaries including Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove.

Abbott told the service that the families of those who died had gone through an unimaginable nightmare.

“Their plane had been shot out of the sky and 298 innocent people murdered, including 38 men, women and children who called Australia home,” he said.

“There will be a time to judge the guilty, but today we honour the dead and we grieve with the living.

“We cannot bring them back, but we will bring them home, as far as we humanly can,” he added.

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