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Today we remember those who died and those who have been left behind.

A year has passed.

We look at each other and say: That went by so fast. But not for 35 Australian families. For those families, the last year has lasted a lifetime.

For most of us, it seems like only yesterday that MH17 crashed in a field of sunflowers. We can still see the plane’s crumpled metal remnants lying in stark contrast to the tall, bright, sunny flowers around it. Bodies and belongings – travel books, children’s toys and prized photos – strewn around the field of death as a plume of black smoke billows from the smouldering remains.

But for some it has been a very long year. A painful year. A year that can never be forgotten or skipped over. A year of silence. A year when every milestone, every special day was under a shadow.

For the families of the 298 people who died on July 17 last year when the doomed carrier was shot down over a Ukraine field, about 40km from the Russian border, it has been a year of grief.

And for them too, it has been a year without resolution. A year of waiting, with no answers. Three hundred and sixty five days of not knowing. A year with no justice.

For many Australians, there are three faces that bring back the horror of this tragedy.

Mo, 12, Evie, 10, and eight-year-old Otis Maslin were travelling home from an overseas family adventure with their grandfather, Nick Norris, when the disaster struck. Their parents, Anthony Maslin and Marite Norris, described their pain shortly after as “intense and relentless”.

“We live in a hell beyond hell,” they said.

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Evie, Mo and Otis Maslin died with their “Grandad Nick”. Image supplied.

How Anthony and Marite even went about beginning to rebuild their life without their children is incomprehensible. A new life without the constant banging and crashing of their three children. Without their chatter, without their laughter, without their disagreements filling up every part of their Perth home. How do you throw out their belongings and repurpose their bedrooms, finally acknowledging that their high-pitched screams of delight and frustration will never fill those empty spaces again?

Though the horror of that day last July shocked us all to the core, though we may have wept for the lost lives of people we didn’t know, though we may have thought of the hundreds of victims every time we stepped foot on a plane since, we went about out lives, relatively unscathed. That date has not been etched into our brains.

But for the victims’ families, like the parents of Bryce Fredriksz, who died with his girlfriend on that flight, “every day is July 17”.

Bryce Fredriksz and his girlfriend Daisy Oehlers died in the disaster. Image via Facebook.

A national memorial service at Parliament House will be held today to mark the unfortunate anniversary.

Parcels of sunflower seeds grown from those harvested by hand from the crash site by a Fairfax journalist and photographer have been distributed to about 200 of the victim’s friends and families.

Today, for many, it will be the only tangible connection they have to the foreign land that stole their beloved.

It’s a touching tribute. But there is a hole that a million tributes could never fill.

Are you doing anything special to remember the victims today?

For more on the Malaysia Airlines disaster, read these articles:

The parents of the three children killed in MH17 have released a statement.

To those who lost their lives on MH17, you are not forgotten.

The daughters of MH17 victim: “She’ll never see us get married or have kids.”

“I want my kids to watch TV coverage of the MH17 crash.”

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