This is a guest post from Brett Domue, one half of the blogging team from my culinary travel website, Our Tasty Travels.
Last week, a friend and colleague, along with his entire family, left for his summer vacation in Borneo. Unfortunately, through the tragic turn of events of which we are all now so poignantly aware, they never made it.
This week was a week of mourning for the people of the Netherlands, as the bodies of the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 returned home to the Netherlands. Today was the third day of these somber flights arriving from the Ukraine, carrying the remains, and my route home coincided with the timing of the motorcade from Eindhoven to Hilversum, so I took the time to pull off at a rest area and pay my respects.
At 4 PM on Wednesday, when the aircraft carrying the remains were scheduled to arrive in Eindhoven, there was a nation-wide minute of silence, followed by churches all over the nation ringing their bells. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, as well as Prime Minister Mark Rutte were all on hand to welcome home their fallen citizens.
Normally, this is a quiet, but happy week at work, as across the Netherlands, people start their 3-4 week summer holidays. Things are pretty quiet, but the vibe is generally upbeat. This year, the mood at the company I work for had been somber. This disaster struck close to home, as we lost one of our more popular executives in the crash. Rob van Keulen had been heading up a product line that ties in to the earliest roots of our entire company, a product line for which I also worked closely with him while I was based in Taiwan for three years. He, his wife Caroline, and his sons Allard and Jeroen were on their way to Kuala Lumpur en route to Borneo for their holiday. Their loss hit our office hard, especially among those of us who knew him and worked with and for him.
In the past week, there have been two other air crashes resulting in loss of life, including TransAsia Flight GE222 on Wednesday, July 23, in Taiwan, the other place I called home in the past seven years. The crash of Air Algerie flight AH5017 in Mali on Thursday, July 24 was the culmination of a terrible week for the aviation industry, which left 450 passengers and crew dead. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those impacted by these disasters.