Dozens of Cagarians gathered at Tomkins Park Friday evening to remember those killed in the Ukrainian Airlines crash.
“It’s a terrible tragedy, it’s hard to put my feelings into words,” said Kamran Rasuli through tears. “They were all talented people with dreams. It’s terrible and unforgettable.”
Many of the mourners were from Calgary’s Iranian community, which is made up of approximately 12,000 to 15,000 people, many of whom fled Iran because of violence in their homeland.
“These people have spent a lot of years under difficult circumstances,” said Parviz Sichan. “Many came to Canada to start a peaceful life.”
Sichan says he wants the Iranian government held accountable if it did indeed shoot the plane down, as many western intelligence agencies claim.
Among those lighting candles at Friday’s vigil was Hesan Pirjanaat, a friend of one of the Calgary victims of the crash.
He says 19-year-old Arshia Arbabbahrami, an international student attending a local high school student, was very successful at the school.
He says Arbabbahrami had just won two gold medals in a martial arts competition.
“We were just waiting for him to come back to say, 'Congratulations, good job man.'” said Pirjanaat. “But we never will be able to again.”
The Calgary vigil was just one of several across the country.
The crash victims were toddlers and teens, parents and grandparents, hailing from nearly every province
The organizer of the local vigil says the community is devastated by the losses.
“For the last 30 years I’ve been in Canada, we didn’t have such a thing happen to the whole community,” said Eghbal Kayaden.
"This is such a big tragedy to people inside Iran and outside Iran."