Not everyone finds joy in sunflowers

Memorial: The sky is reflected in the national MH17 monument in Vijfhuizen, Netherlands, which carries the names of the victims of MH17.

AMSTERDAM: Sunflowers normally bring out smiles, with their cheerful yellow hues.

Not so for Piet Ploeg, who lost his older brother Alex, his sister-in-law and nephew when Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014.

“Before MH17, I liked sunflowers very much but after MH17, I have hated sunflowers because they bring back very sad memories.

“I really don’t like to see sunflowers,” he said, explaining that parts of the MH17 plane wreckage were found in a sunflower field in Ukraine.

He was speaking to Malaysian journalists during a visit to the MH17 National Monument in Vijfhuizen, near Schiphol Airport.

Ploeg, who is also chairman of “Stichting Vliegramp MH17” (MH17 Aircraft Disaster Foundation), said they had planted sunflowers at the memorial field here in memory of the tragedy.

Also planted at the memorial are 298 trees, with each bearing a label with the name, age and nationality of all those killed in the incident.

“During the peak of summer, the trees are surrounded by wreaths of more than 20,000 sunflowers,” he said.

Asked about his feelings on the MH17 trial which commences today, Ploeg said he was looking forward to discovering the truth through the trial.

“During the trial, we will know what happened, why it happened, and who was responsible,” he


Anton Kotte, the treasurer of “Stichting Vliegramp MH17” also hoped the trial would bring justice to all family members of the victims. He lost his son, daughter-in-law, and six-year-old grandchild in the incident. — Bernama

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