5 EYEWITNESS NEWS/KSTP-TV, Saint Paul, MN – By now you know the story. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, on Thursday, July 17, 2014. All 298 people aboard the Amsterdam-to-Kuala Lumpur flight died making it the deadliest airliner shootdown in history.
The Boeing 777 plunged out of the sky over territory held by pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine. According to a report by the Dutch Safety Board (193 of those killed were Dutch citizens), the plane was likely struck by multiple “high-energy objects from outside the aircraft,” causing it to break up over eastern Ukraine.
For Drew Ryder of Willmar, MN, that Thursday started out as just another typical day at the office–until his phone rang about 10 a.m. It was Ryder’s uncle calling from Amsterdam “totally distraught” saying he had terrible news: Ryder’s brother, Arjen, and sister-in-law, Yvonne, were on Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.
Ryder says he found the news difficult to process, especially as the days wore on and evidence mounted that a deliberate missile attack brought the plane down. Even so, Ryder says his faith has prevented him from participating in the hatred responsible for the attack.
“It doesn’t create for me any need for revenge,” Ryder told KSTP-TV. “If we react in anger and ask for retribution, all we’re doing is continuing the violence.”
Ryder says that if he were able to meet the people responsible for the airline tragedy, he would look them in the eye and say, “I forgive you for what you did.”
Ryder added, “I’m actually praying for those people. We as Christians are asked to forgive those who wrong us.”
Read the full story: “Willmar Man Loses Brother and Sister-in-Law on MH17, Urges Forgiveness“