Victims of plane crash remembered at local Ukrainian Festival

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PITTSBURGH - The crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine is still on the minds of many local Ukrainian Americans.

On Wednesday, Channel 11’s Courtney Brennan visited the Ukranian Festival, a yearly celebration that is taking on a bit of a somber tone this year.

Those in attendance said they want to celebrate their heritage and share it, but they also know they have to do their part to honor the innocent victims who were killed.

“I’m originally from there,” Svitlana Tomson said. “I came to the United States right before Soviet Union collapsed.”

Tomson said the festival has a special meaning this year.

As investigators comb through the wreckage of Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine, Tomson and her family are in constant communication with their loved ones still in the homeland.

“Our hearts are with them. We pray with them and we pray for them for peace because what’s happening there right now is very scary,” Tomson said.

The 298 victims who were killed in the crash will be remembered every night at the festival this week with a memorial service that honors their lives.