Friday, August 22, 2014

Day of Mourning for MH17


As I was walking around Merdeka Square earlier, I noticed that the flag on the gigantic 95 meter flagpole was at half-mast, and wondered why.  As I continued my jaunt around the city, it soon became apparent that all the flags were at half-mast.  I planned to ask at the hostel when I got back, but I found the answer along the way as I walked towards the Menara KL Tower.  The Shangri-La Hotel had posted a large board outside on their flagpoles: August 22nd was a national day of mourning for those who died in the crash of MH17, the plane that was shot down while crossing over Ukraine in July. Today the first twenty bodies of the Malaysian citizens who died (more than forty, if I'm not mistaken) were arriving in Kuala Lumpur.  After this tragedy, coming so close to the loss of the Malaysian flight in the Pacific earlier this year, Malaysian officials declared a day of mourning and gave the victims the honor of state recognition--the bodies were ceremonially received at the airport and the coffins draped in Malaysian flags, which had never been done for anyone other than military or top government leaders.  [Over the next several days, I saw many such signs and billboards, with companies and organizations expressing their condolences.]

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