AUSTRALIA will reflect on the lives cruelly taken by the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 next Thursday, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott declaring it a national day of mourning.
All government buildings will fly the Australian flag at half mast, and a national memorial service will be held in Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral.
Mr Abbott said in a statement this morning the service would honour those Australia has lost and support those struck by grief.
"All Australians mourn the loss of Flight MH17," he said.
"There were 298 innocent people on this aircraft and their deaths offend our sense of justice.
"We grieve for all, but particularly for the 38 men, women and children who called Australia home.
"Our hearts go out to all their families. We will support them through the difficult times ahead.
"Twenty-three million Australians share the sadness of those who mourn.
"We are united in grief and in our determination to ensure that justice is done."
The service will be open to all, as well an outside broadcast to cater for the large crowds expected.
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