NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING: Australia Grieves MH17 Victims

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August 7 has been declared a National Day of Mourning for the victims lost in the downing of MH17.

Across the country today flags will be flown at half-mast and Australians will pay their respects to those who have died.

A national memorial service was held at St. Patrick’s cathedral in Melbourne at 10:30am this morning.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the service was an interdenominational service honouring the lives of the 38 Australian passengers who perished among the 298 people on board MH17 on July 17.

Melbourne was selected to host the memorial service, as 17 of the Australian victims lost came from Victoria.

The states Premier Denis Napthine says the service represents the nation “figuratively [putting] their arms around the families that have been devastated by this tragic loss … [saying] Australians stand with them in their time of sorrow.”

“People who were teachers, people who were students and people who were ordinary citizens in this wonderful state, these wonderful country communities and the wonderful city of Melbourne,” he said.

The day, however, is without the comfort that all the remains of the victims will be brought home.

Overnight Australian prime ministerial envoy Angus Houston and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte confirmed that both governments have abandoned MH17 search efforts as fighting in the area intensifies. After a number failed attempts by Dutch and Australian authorities to access the site, the mission has been declared too dangerous for international specialists.

“It doesn’t make sense to continue with the repatriation in this manner,” Rutte said. “We have done what we could under the current circumstances.”

Here are some of the respects being shared on social media.

Read more here.

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