If grief is a journey, this is the first painful step: searing heartache.

Over 2,500 people filled the Saville Community Sports Centre at the University of Alberta on Jan. 12 to remember the lives of 13 Edmontonians and 163 others lost when Ukrainian Airlines International Flight PS752 was shot down by a missile shortly after takeoff from Tehran. All 176 people onboard were killed in the Jan. 8 crash, including 57 Canadians.

The Edmonton victims were of Iranian descent, and their lives were recalled by family and friends at the memorial, which included Persian poetry and song. They were cherished as paragons of Iranian virtues – high education, patience, humour, and a welcoming spirit.

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