The Malaysian Club of Chicago lit 298 candles Friday night to honor the 298 victims killed in Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 this week.
Dozens of Chicago residents, mainly from the Malaysian and Ukranian communities, gathered at 31st and Wallace and held a moment of silence to reflect.
"It's actually 9/11 for Netherlands, for Ukraine ... another 9/11, a reminder that terrorists can attack you at any time," Ukranian Iouri Melnik said.
Cecile and Alex Thai were remembering their cousin's friend, Elaine Toeh, a Malaysian college student studying in Australia who was heading home on the plane when the missile struck.
"It's deeply saddening and shocking," Cecile Thai said. "It's a tragedy that no one ever expected."
An unidentified Ukranian man sobbed throughout the vigil, lamenting the plight of his home country.
"It's getting destroyed by Putin and his people ... I can't take it," the man said.
The Malaysian Club's founder, Dr. Kim Tee, said there's much shock and grief in the local Malaysian community after the second air disaster this year. He hopes that while everyone remains in a state of shock, that people will come together to support one another.
Tee says there's an estimated 500 Malaysian families and 2,000 students in the Midwest. He says many may have traveled back home this month for the Malaysian New Year celebration called Eid, which signals the end of the fasting period of Ramadan.