Flags of mourning raised on disaster anniversary

In the dark and snowy hours of Friday morning, one year since the date of the tragic disaster, at the site of the collapsed Maxima supermarket in Zolitūde, LSM observed the gathering of people paying their respects to the victims and their families.

President Andris Bērziņš and the First Lady arrived after dawn to light candles and lay flowers amongst the other memorial objects left by the fence surrounding the now-cleared lot. He again urged that all must be done to never permit such avoidable misfortune again and expressed hope that the parliamentary investigative committee would indeed succeed in the job it has vowed to undertake.

"The responsibility for such a situation, the largest number of innocent victims in our history, has yet to be assumed. Incomparably greater responsibility is assumed for much simpler matters all the time. In fact, it seems we do not appreciate the value of human life," said Bērziņš after observing a minute of silence.

Candles lit, flowers, mementos and toys laid in the snow

Aļona, who was at the site very early, told LTV she lost her husband under the rubble that day. He had gone in to buy some goods so they could celebrate the anniversary of their first meeting. “And there you have it, we celebrated our anniversary, with me in this world and him in the next,” she said. She said she felt united with the community of victims and their families, who now see themselves as an extended family brought together by grief.

Saeima member Regīna Ločmele-Luņova, who heads the victims' group Zolitūde 21.11 urged the public to refrain from politics today and just visit the site, light a candle, attend church, appreciate their loved ones. However she did say that she thinks “today is a chance for those who may actually feel responsible for the tragedy to apologize to the grieving survivors, the injured and their families.”

At an evening ceremony timed to coincide with the precise time - 5.41 p.m. - when the roof caved in, the names of the deceased were read out as hundreds of visitors, many of them in tears, placed thousands of flowers and candles at the site.

 

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