I have gathered some information from the Lockerbie-citizens themselves,
telling about the darkest day of local history and the even darker days
after. Some stories are responses sent by e-mail from Lockerbie-citizens,
other are secondhand, but yet reliable older stories from newspaper-articles
``The debris ran like a carpet across the countryside, a trail of devastation and bodies,'' said Constable Michael Stryjewski. Stryjewski was the first witness to testify at the public inquiry that began Monday October 1st 1990 into the terrorist bombing of the Boeing 747 on Dec. 21, 1988. Stryjewski said he heard jet engines and saw ``an orange glow in the sky'' from the window of his home that overlooks the town of 3,000.
``The glow appeared to be growing larger and coming downward,'' he said. ``The next thing I saw were shapes falling to the ground somewhere in Lockerbie. . . . There was a horrendous noise, an explosion . . . like a miniature atomic bomb, and a mushroom of cloud and flame went upward. . . . I'd say it reached 1,000 feet.'' The policeman said he could see houses on fire and tried to make an emergency call but his phone was dead.
October 4, 1990 /The Baltimore Sun (US)
Many Lockerbie citizens helped cleaning up the crash site and aiding relatives, guarding found body parts or crash scrapnel, keeping off the press etc. Everyone, from the official police and fire fighters to the town hall people and ordinary citizens joined in a traumatic battle to rebuild their society, that had been scattered by the sudden crash of pan Am 103 3 days before christmas. Some of the rescue workers, both professionals and volunteers, had to cope with personal loss as well as with the trauma of working with a crashed 747. Their psychological state of mind was attended to by dr. Turnbull.
A man who had been strolling out for a walk on the Rosebank street just after 1900 saw the plane hit her house. He spoke of seeing that section of the doomed plan heading earth twisting and turning in the sky before it chose to land on Ella Ramsdens house. Many people see Ella as the luckyist survivor of all the victims.
Left: (1) Picture of dead victim, lowered from the
roof of Ella Ramsden. Most of the Syracuse students landed in her backyard
and on her roof.
Right: (2) Color picture of Ella's house...well, what's left of it....on the morning December 22.
Picture left in b/w: (3) Ella's house a few days later after the hanging roof has toppled. Far behind: the church of Lockerbie
Max Kerr was after the crash of Pan Am appointed chairman of the Rosebank Community Liaison Committee, who used to visit people after the disaster, talking it over with the shocked people, arranging to keep them busy with knitting socks, baking scones and keeping peoples mind occupied by something else. About 20 bodies were found in his garden. Some lying around his back door, some sitting in his hedge.
(The stories of Mary, Ruth, Bunty, Max and Ella and more victims can
be found in the book Survivors written by Geraldine Sheridan
and Thomas Kenning.)
I used to live in Lockerbie, my wife was born there and her mother and sister still live there. On the night, I got a call at about 1am asking me to take video equipment across from my home in Dumfries, I was one of the few people who had a video 8 machine, and a motorist had told police he had videoed the plane coming down with his video 8 camera.
I got there and it was like going into hell, fire hoses everywhere,
people milling around, people ready and willing to help but with no clear
idea of where to go and what to look for. The police station knew nothing
of my trip, it took hours to get together with their technicians and to
get hold of the tape, which was of the fires burning in the town, the plane
had not been filmed.
At seven in the morning I got home to Dumfries and went to work, having to pass through lockerbie on my way across the Borders to Kielder, picking up little scraps from the roadside all the way there and all the way back. The police had closed the Langholm Lockerbie road to try and stop the ghouls getting to the crash site by the time I got back and I used the back roads to get to Lockerbie and deliver my pitiful little collection, I rember a rucksack with raspberry jam from the Lake District, the jar broken, the jam almost like gore.
I rember the lines of cars trying to find their way through the back roads I'm familiar with; I work for the Forrestry Commission and use the roads regularly; and my anger at the gawpers hanging over the wire fence of a field, staring at the bags of debris the farmer had collected, lots of them, and one woman yelling to a man who'd vaulted the wire, "Get me a sweater".
I used my radio to let the police know what was happening and pressed on to Lockerbie. When I dropped my collection at the makeshift centre, the police were still in a state of shock, the area they were having to consider was growing bigger by the minute, debris was coming in from parts they had never considered. The town had settled, organisation had come with the light of day and the locals were able to put their knowledge to good use.
I rember the women of Lockerbie baking almost night and day to feed the army of searchers, the leader of a unit of men, without transport who could find no-one to drive them or lend them a van to get to their destination, untill they asked a Salvation Army officer, he tossed them the keys to his van without even asking when he might get it back. The cash and carry store in Dumfries who, when the Salvation Army came to the check-out with a trolly full of goods for their mobile kitchens at Lockerbie, waved them through and told them to come back for more if they needed it.
The hoards of pressmen who descended on the town, if ever the term 'Reptile' was more fitting, all they saw was their expense sheets and the chance of capturing the grief and gore for their greater glory, I almost ran over half a dozen of them in the morning as they milled around trying to get better pictures of the corpses on a roof, and the police seargant who pointedly turned his back on their protests as I forced my way through them with my van.
They say that everyone knows whre they were when Kennedy died, for this little part of Scotland, we all know where we were when flight 103 died.
George Leven, Dumfries
I knew within seconds of arriving in Lockerbie that there had been no survivors: The ambulances gave it away. They were strung out before me - two, three four abreast - all along one of the country roads leading into the town. Their doors were splayed open in hopeful readiness, their flashing lights casting a flickering blue tinge to the Christmas decorations above them. But there was little sign of activity - no paramedics urgently preparing equipment, no police officers in sight, no drivers now running engines.
I had driven into Locerbie via Tundergarth Hill, the site where the cockpit of the doomed aircraft had come down. I paused briefly to get my bearings. I had lived and worked in Scotland for many years but the town was not one I knew very well. For me it was a brief train stop on the main line between Glasgow and London or a name on a signpost as you passed it on the A74 dual carriageway south towards the border.
It was the fire hoses, snaking through the metal debris littered across the town, that led me towards one of the worst areas of devastation at Sherwood Crescent. It was there that one of the wings and part of the fuselage of the plane had landed in a huge fireball. We didn't know it at the time but this was where all 11 of the town's victims had lived.
Everywhere you looked was a reminder that many, many more had died that this had been a disaster of international proportions. Here a jumper snagged in a tree. There an American passport partially hidden by an in-flight meal tray strewn across the footpath. The smell of aviation fuel was overpowering.
The days ahead saw a succession of visitors and dignitaries to the town: American and British politicians, senior police officers, accident investigators. There were news conferences, constant updates of the death toll all accompanied by the constant clatter of helicopters overhead shuttling search teams across the countryside to locate the trail of wreckage.
Through it all, stoically and with enormous dignity, the people of Lockerbie bore their own loss and opened their homes and hearts to the relatives of the passengers who had died. They had been told to stay away, to spare themselves the horrific scenes. They came anyway. The bonds forged then continue to this day and were about the only positive message I took with me as I left the town the day before Christmas.
Right Reverend James Whyte at the Lockerbie Memorial Service January 4, 1989 at Dryfesdale Parish Church. Just the night before, US Military had shot down two Libyan fighter jets on the coast of Libya. His words of "retaliation" refers to that incident.
Let me explain where my house was in relation to the accident. As I stated, I lived in Park Place, which adjoins Rosebank Crescent. Ella Ramsden was a well-known figure in our locality, and a nicer woman you would never meet. In fact, her three children, Jimmy, Louise and Katherine, were of ages with my older siblings, David, Elizabeth and Mary. I am much younger!
On the night of 21st December, we had just returned from Dumfries, where my father (an insurance agent) had attended his weekly sales meetings. We had also done some last minute Christmas shopping. I brought my best friend at that stage along with me, as his girlfriend had left that morning to spend Christmas with her grandparents in Troon, Ayrshire, and I felt he needed a little cheering up. We got back to Lockerbie at 6.45 pm, dropped Craig off, went home, and at that stage my mother decided to deliver a message to my sister-in-law who lived in Townhead Street, Lockerbie. My brother at that stage was a taxi driver in London, they didn't have a phone in their home in Lockerbie, and so David had phoned "home" to tell us that his daughter had been invited to a birthday party. My mother got into the car, after we had unloaded all the shopping, and set off to deliver the message.
My father proceeded to open all the mail, and I began packing away all the groceries. I had just opened the freezer to start on the frozen goods when Iheard a rumbling sound, akin to thunder. Finding it strange that there should be thunder in December, I stopped what I was doing. The noise got louder, and the ground started to shake. The Armenian earthquake which claimed thousands of lives still fresh in my memory, I screamed for Dad, and proceeded to run outside, out the back door of our house. The sky was neon orange, and I looked to my left, over a transport depot directly behind my house. Had I looked to my right, I would definitely have seen the fuselage of the plane spewing out bodies.
At that it went deathly still, and I ran back inside to the front door, where my father was standing. The streetlamp outside had sparks running up and down it. There was then this terrific explosion. I hauled Dad inside and threw us both onto the floor. Then again it went deathly still. Then mayhem. People from our street just started running, running up the hill towards Rosebank Crescent.
I immediately got Dad to call 999 (our emergency number) - it was constantly engaged!!! Then miraculously he got a crossed line with a Police Traffic Patrol vehichle who was phoning in from the motorway, and had seen the "mushroom cloud", and wondered what had happened. I ran upstairs to my bedroom and I could see the fires from the other side of the railway line. My father then reported to the Police Officer that something had definitely happened in our street, as all the streetlights had gone out, and the electricity seemed to have earthed just outside our house (our block was the last block to have electricity). And that's why Lockerbie Fire Brigade came to Park Place first and not Sherwood Park. Ronnie Robertson, at that stage leadingfirefighter in the Lockerbie Brigade also couldn't understand it, until my father explainedwhat had happened. He felt bad that they hadn't gone to Sherwood Crescentfirst, until the Fire Chief in Dumfries told him that they had secured a gas leak in Rosebank Crescent, and had they not done that, there could have been much worse tragedies. They only had a certain amount of water in their Fire Tender, certainly not enough to cope with the fires in Sherwood.
Far from the earthquake or the explosion at the transport depot that
I thought had occurred, already the people from our street were talking
about a military jet crash. We knew it had to happen one day. They buzzed
our town mercilessly like annoying mosquitoes. The people were calling
for first aiders, and my father was once part of an ambulance team when
he was a coal miner in the 1950's. So he ran out to see what he could do.
Meanwhile I was worried about my mother who still hadn't returned. She
eventually did - and of course me standing at the door without my father
made her go into a flat spin, but I was able to assure her that I was fine,
Dad was fine, and she assured me that my sister-in-law and niece were both
safe and well. What had amused my little five-year-old niece, if anything
in that terrible situation could be amusing, was that the catflap opened
- and their cat was lying asleep on the rug!
But now the town became a hive of people trying to find their loved ones, trying to make sure that those closest to them were safe and unhurt. I panicked for the safety of my best friend. I ran to his house, and there I heard that his cousin (who lived next door to Ella) had been killed. All his mother could say to me was "Marilyn's lassie, oh, Marilyn's lassie". (It later turned out that Carol was safe and well - this girl who looked very similar in height, build and hair colouring was actually a passenger from the plane). But I was now hysterical. I ran back down to my house (15 doors away), and there met a boy that I went to school with (I had left school the previous May, and was now at college). Stephen asked if I was okay, and vice versa. I then asked him if it was true about Carol. He said "I think so", and my hysteria started again. I started screaming "I"ve got to find Craig!" Luckily Stephen just threw his arms around me and said "Pearl, Craig's fine! I've seen him. He's fine. He's safe." That's how it was in Lockerbie that night. People, who didn't normally bother about each other, were just throwing their arms around each other, giving each other comfort and reassurance that was so badly needed. Shortly after that, Craig arrived at my door, and we just ran into each other's arms.
Craig isn't usually a very emotional person, and we didn't normally go around hugging each other, but I couldn't help it and neither could he. As I sobbed onto his shoulder, he replied through his tears "Dinnae greet, Pearl, dinnae greet". (Don't cry).
Something amazing that night. When I think about it, it was midwinter - freezing cold. Yet the heat from the fires in Sherwood was so intense that I don't remember seeing anyone in our street wearing a jacket. Also for days afterwards everyone had this tickly cough - the after effects of the aviation fuel.
I have to say that the townspeople were amazing. Thrown into the limelight of an information hungry and ofttimes ghoulish world, the normally very introverted but friendly people handled themselves with great composure, especially people like Ella, who instead of feeling sorry for herself, got right down to work in the school kitchens, helping out the servicemen and women who were conducting the rescue mission.
Another person who was truly wonderful - and still is to this day - is a close family friend, Mr Alex Traill. He hadn't been home the night of the disaster, he had been staying with his son in Dumfries. Angus phoned us to make sure we were safe, and my father told Angus to keep his father (who has a week heart) with them at least overnight. "Uncle" Alex (as I"ve called him all my life) came home the next day, ashen faced as he witnessed the destruction he saw around. But when they set up a resident's committee, he immediately got involved. The first committee meeting, with our MP and various other representatives was in fact held in the little chapel we had at the end of Park Place. Uncle Alex to this day still escorts relatives around the various sites, explaining the events, allowing them a moment of private grief, a shoulder to cry on, or a few words of comfort, and then a three course meal at his house! He really got involved and has been a great comfort to many grieving relatives from the USA.
But the interest in Lockerbie has not always been wholesome. We have had our "ghouls". One lady was asked where the crater was. When she told them it had been filled in, they left with the words "Oh well, there's nothing to see - it's not worth it". I worked in a police station for a while gaining secretarial experience as part of my college course. One day this American tourist walked into the office, saying "Where did the plane crash?" I told him the three main areas - Rosebank Crescent, Sherwood Crescent and Tundergarth; "Yeah but where did the bits come down?" I told him they were scattered over an area of 18 miles in radius. "Yeah, but wasn't there a crater?" Sad. They don't want to pay their respects - just to be ghoulish.
One year after the event, I really couldn't face being in Lockerbie. I just couldn't. I went to a friend's house in Dumfries for the evening. The following year, it was the same story, and by the following year, I was living in South Africa, having married my Capetonian penpal. Flying does make me nervous now, and I tend to think about things like terrorist bombs. But I reckon if it is your time to go, well, that's it.
I love my town, and I will always be glad that I grew up there, always. The townsfolk really proved themselves on the night and beyond. They have recovered. They pulled together. I also wouldn't agree that violence in the town increased, even though my brother was assaulted on Christmas Eve. I can't say that there was a real marked increase in crime AS A RESULT. But I would probably agree that drinking increased. Bear in mind that it was the festive season. People do tend to get drunk and disorderly then anyway. Maybe it was more pronounced that year than on any other year. But street brawls over Christmas and New Year are not uncommon.
Craig and I sadly grew apart when I moved to South Africa and we don't really keep in touch. Stephen, who comforted me, and I became fairly good friends, thanks to that event. He is now a police officer in nearby Annan. I, as I say, have moved to South Africa, where I am an Admin Manager for a computer training firm. The events will never, ever go away from my mind. They can't be erased, but I can always think of the people, the Salvation Army, the volunteers at the school, and I think how we didn't sit back and mope, feeling sorry for ourselves. We actually rolled our sleeves up and got on with it. I'm proud of my town!
Pearl Goldie (nee Lindsay)
The worst part was the thousands of tourists, visitors and media -people, for years to come. Lockerbie-residents often came home from work to find visitors cars parked inside their own parking lots, visitors took cuttings from hedges, flowers from people's gardens, looking through windows, ringing doorbells...
Even today people keep visting Lockerbie, expecting to see parts of the plane, the Sherwood crater, destroyed buildings. They get so disappointed, when they find nothing!
Not even 10 years after the crash is the town of Lockerbie allowed to carry on with life. The upcoming 10th anniversary will not pass by in silence as the Lockerbie'ers protest once more against further media performances in their town:
Lockerbie to Clinton: "Stay away from us in 1998"
More about the preparations for the upcoming 10th anniversary
Message from Lockerbie policeman, who participated
in the cleaning-up, December 1998
Other than the people of Lockerbie had to cope with the crash of Pan
Am 103. Being a friend, a relative or an aquaintant to any of the victims
has also its own share of impact on a life.
Trish Davidson from the USA knew the co-pilot of Pan Am 103:
"Look guys, my neighbor was the copilot on Pam Am 103. I didn't like the man much, but it is still very difficult to accept an act of random violence for me and I am just an acquaintaince. I think the relatives are still in pain and they want people to recognize that they are still in pain. Of course protesting isn't going to do any "good" and of course it would be helpful to "get on with their lives" as people have suggested, but losing someone, especially a child, to terrorism must leave you with tremendous anger. I know I am still angry when I hear references to Pan Am 103 in the media. So lighten up, and don't be so judgmental ablut these relatives. Your life wasn't shattered and theirs was."
Lessons of Lockerbie Scotland in July is something everyone should see. The scenery is to say the least beautiful. The skies are tranquil and the temperatures are in the lower seventies. I would go so far as to calling it God's "back yard". I pictured myself with a stone-cobbled house, a thick wool sweater, and a red-green kilt. After being contented by corned beef and something I can't pronounce on rye bread sandwiches, and about ten glasses of apple juice, I was refueled and ready to enjoy the bus ride to my final destination--Edinburgh, Scotland. As the tour bus drove endlessly through the thickly wooded lake district, I felt the peaceful surroundings radiate through the window and into my body. My eyes strained in trying to find a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster, but I knew I was too far south. Scotland was only a small part of my tours plan, but you can't experience Great Britain without including its history, culture, and stunning natural beauty. The afternoon passed by with an enjoyable monotony. I lay back in my seat, listening to old Steve Miller tunes on the coach radio, thinking nothing could be better than this. The long and winding roads began to take their toll and I began to find myself battling with sleep. The sleep won as usual. That was until my bladder began to feel like a ten pound weight on my lap. What made me drink so much apple juice? I was practically swimming in the stuff. All I could dream about now was a big clean john to literally drain my troubles into. I struggled to remain a dry back for about fourty-five torturesome minutes. Just when I thought the levee was about to break, the tour guide informed us that we would soon be driving through the infamous town of Lockerbie.
I said to myself, "who the hell cares as long as its got a good commode!" The bus stopped and the tour director reminded us that we had ten minutes to do our thing, because we were behind schedule. I shot toward the bathroom like a heat-seeking missile to a MiG 23. To my dismay the toilets looked like something even King Arthur wouldn't take a dump in, but I wasn't going to be choosy. As I pulled my shorts up I realized just where I was. Jumping Jesus! It can't be. In case you may have forgotten in the last twenty-one months, Lockerbie is the final resting place of Pan Am flight 103. It was the evil and sick wrath of terrorism, not to mention to bomb, that brought down the 747 full of innocent victims a few days before Christmas 1988. I walked out of the restroom looking at the clear, blue, Scottish sky and it really put the hook in me. Up in that serene peace hundreds of helpless airline passengers died in a quick and devastating explosion. I began to explore some of the nearby areas. Looking at the sky again, I saw the disaster taking place as if I were really there on that fateful day. I stood and watched while taking notes in my mind. It was a horrifying and sobering piece of time. The visions became clearer and clearer in my mind. The huge carcus of a once mighty plane was scattered all around me like a dead, limp seagull. The bodies of the dead and severely wounded lay everywhere, making it hard for me to walk. Mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, young men and women massed amidst a twisted and fire-breathing pile of scrap metal. It resembled a bloody, mangled carpet. I could smell that ever-wretched stench of death still floating in the air like a demon. It was more than enough to make a person want to vomit. Cries and moans came about like a flock of sick geese. Many were not heard due to the blazing inferno all around. As I snaped out of my mental state, I caught a glimpse of the growing, green fields. How could something so wretchedly wicked happen to such a quiet town such as this? I scanned the horizon again and visually put myself into the place of a Lockerbie resident. Life before the catastrophe had to have been so fulfilling and promising. The green pastures and running streams made it heavenly. That all came to a swift end as the plane dropped on the village with all its terrible, devilish fury. I wanted to help the crash survivors, but there was no way I could without risking bodily harm. I just had to pray that the fire would go down so I could help someone in a desperate situation. These and other similar thoughts had to have been shooting through the minds of those living in Lockerbie at the moment to disaster. I was in a state of utter and total shock. I was frightened beyond belief, but had to do my part in some fashion. I proceeded to help a fire crew with their hoses. The water did little, the fire was just too out of control. Next, I aided another town resident in removing a heavy piece of aircraft engine off of an elderly man. He was rescued, but badly burned. I coughed and choked on smoke and gasoline fumes, but nothing could stop me from giving help where it was needed. I was hot, scared, and wanted to cry. As I came back down to reality again, I found my feelings taking shape of those in my visions. This was almost too much to handle in one day. Finally, on my walk back to the bus, I journeyed back to the mental state and took the place of an unlucky but brave airline passenger. I was in my last few painful moments of existence. I was in an aisle seat reading a newspaper when I was interrupted by a deafening blast. The air was sucked out of my lungs like the burst of a balloon. Fire began to engulf the fuselage and the cabin. Some were saying Hail Mary's while others babbled about being late to the airport. People were screaming like I've never heard screaming before. It was the chorus of death. It was mass confusion and panic. There was nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. This was to be the last trip anyone would ever take again. Then, as suddenly as it started, it was over. The passengers terror was over, but Lockerbie's had just begun. Yes, the visions I just relayed to you were not based on my first hand knowledge, but they had to have been real to a certain extent. I stepped back into the bus emotionally drained. I looked around Lockerbie and began to see what its current face looks like. There were still many obvious scars scaping the land. Many of the old stone houses in the village had new roofs. Some were still being rebuilt. The farm fields that were once abound with crops were now dark brown. The flatness of the land resembled the prairies of Kansas. Lockerbie was a barren and haunting place to be. Now I know what the feeling of going into "no man's land" had to have been like for the doughboys in World War I. The feeling I had here was certainly similar. I sat in my bus seat and peered out the window at Lockerbie one final time. My eyes were mesmerized by it and I couldn't take them off it. I didn't know why or what I was doing here. I didn't want to stick around any longer. The bus was then on its way out of town. The route we took happened to go over a bridge that was destroyed by the plane crash. It was redone of course, but it didn't belong. If I had been in this exact spot on that night, I'd have been killed. That thought sent a chill up my spine. The skies turned cloudy after we were out of town. It was some coincidence. What lessons did this experience teach me? I don't know what they are, but they are the reason that I am writing this paper now. Listening to a few choice songs on my walkman in my hotel room later on that day may have lead me to a couple of answers. Although I had heard the song "Sympathy For the Devil" by the Rolling Stones many times before, this particular time was downright terrifying. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Satanist but the lyrics do spell out some of the thoughts of darkness I endured. "Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste/I've been around for a long , long, year, stole many a man's soul and faith" Further on into the song: "Stuck around St. Petersburg when I saw it was a time for a change/Killed the czar and his ministers, Anastasia screamed in vain/I rode a tank in a generous rank when the blitzkreig raged and the bodies stank" Still further: "Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name/But what's puzzling you is the nature of my game" I was stultified. The passengers on the airplane that perished could be directly or indirectly tied to these lyrics. They were part of a needless catastrope that could be tied to the evil workings of the Devil. They were grabbed by Satan's ugly hand with delight. It was a tragically ironic song because I was near it. Another lesson I have learned is one about death itself. Death is as much part of life as breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We just don't like to think about it because it is a rather depressing subject. Nobody really wants to die, but we are always faced with the fact that we have to sometime. It is doubtful that the travelers on Flight 103 were all ready to die themselves. It must've been so terrible and pain-stricken on that 747 just before the final crash. There obviously had to have been pain, horror, and terror. This is where another song comes into the picture. I am not advocating suicide, but death shouldn't be such a taboo subject. We need not be afraid of death because it does end the pain and suffering of life. The passengers surely wanted a way to end their suffering and death gave them that peaceful end. Yes, that did sound dark and morbid, but I think that it is a relevant assumption. In the epic song "The End" by the Door's, we can see that what I just stated may be somewhat true. The lyrics tell quite a story. "This is the end, beautiful friend/This is the end, my only friend....the end /Of our elaborate plans, the end, no safety or surprise,the end, I'll never look into your eyes again" Further on: "Can you picture what will be so limitless and free?/Desperately in need of some strangers hand, in a desperate land" I don't want to die for a long time. Who doesn't? I just feel that we should not be afraid of death wherever and whenever it comes. At the moment of death there is a certain peace. Death can be a good thing if you really think about it. The final lesson I learned from my experience of Lockerbie is one about life and death in general. Since one of the uncertainties of life is not knowing when we will meet up with the grim reaper, it may be hard to swallow what I'm about to say. We need to live one day at a time and live our life to the fullest, because that day could be our last. The disaster of Lockerbie is just another sad example at how fast we can go. I know there was at least somebody on that plane who wished they could've hugged or kissed a loved one good-bye for the last time and didn't have the chance. Life can't be lived be just one person. We need to share ourselves with the ones we know to make it even more meaningful. Its been over a year since my European tour visited Lockerbie, Scotland, but the memories are still vivid in my mind. I learned more from those few minutes in that village than anything the tour guide could've said about France or Germany. I've learned to have an intense hatred of terrorism and believe it should be dealt with severely. This incident showed just how ghastly and inhumane terrorism can be from a close perspective. Even if my presence was indirect, this naive Nebraska boy now knows what this perspective feels like. -- Eric Fredricks --
NEW! Commemoration essay, written by a local visitor 17/12/1999
"Inevitably, the images of those dark December days eleven years ago flashed through my mind as they always do, and I think always will, whenever I go there. The main street alive with people and television cameras that first morning at 6am as we walked down to Sherwood; the deathly hush there in the eerie darkness as we were allowed through the police cordon and approached the crater; and the many journeys made though those same dark streets for many weeks in early morning and late at night to and from the incident control centre. Memories of tears wept at the image of the little girl on the plane in the red dress who ‘didn’t deserve this’ as she was described on a bouquet laid at the town hall in these early days and of standing with John Boyd in front of the town hall, again in the dark evening, head bowed as the first coffins left Lockerbie to go home. "
Raed the full essay HERE
Some months after the crash, the town still was in deep sorrow. Then someone suggested to give a cheer-up party for the children of Lockerbie, who had been living in a town of sorrow for so long. Multinational American companies like Coca Cola and Disney were ready to participate. But relatives of mainly US victims blocked such an invent. They argued it was tasteless to have Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to come to the place where their kin had been killed and hand out free soft drinks and balloons for the kids. So the idea was dead even before it was born.
Students from the Lockerbie area of southern Scotland who meet university entrance qualifications will compete annually for the double scholarship, which is managed by the Lockerbie and Syracuse University Trust. The scholarship is funded jointly by the university and the disaster fund.
The first student exchange took place in 1990
August, 18th, 1999 - From The Dumfries and Gallaoway Standard
THE people of Lockerbie receive a special "thank you" from the mother of one of the young victims of Pan Am Flight 103 in a book she has just published about her daughter.
Miriam's Gift is a tribute to 20-year-old Miriam Wolfe, who was one of the 35 Syracuse University students killed on the New York bound flight more than 10 years ago. Her mother, Rosemary Mild, from Severna Park, Annapolis, in Maryland, hopes that by writing the 174-page book she has shown how special her daughter was and the importance of recognising and appreciating a child's gifts today. She writes: "Please don't wait until tomorrow...because there might not be a tomorrow." Mrs Mild has received hundreds of letters since the disaster paying tribute to the many good things her daughter had done and the help she had given many people.
And she said: "We hadn't realised how many lives she had touched and how special she was not only to us but to others. "We didn't even know she had written her own journals until they were returned among her personal effects to us from Lockerbie. "The people of Lockerbie so lovingly washed them and ironed them and also ironed the pages of her journals. The saintly people of Lockerbie gave us a gift, an irreplaceable gift, by allowing all of these things to be returned to me." Miriam, who would have been 31 next month, graduated from her local high school just two years before the disaster and was president of the school's drama club and won an award for achievement in the arts and humanities.
She attended Syracuse University to major in musical theatre and had been in London studying acting, art, dance and dramatic literature. Her mother, who visited the Garden of Remembrance in Lockerbie to see the plaque to her daughter, recalled the chilling, painful memories in the aftermath of the disaster. She said: "I felt outraged and angry that she was taken away from me so young and then I though what if the world never knows who she is?" One of the first letters came by way of a national television show on Christmas Day just after the tragedy - a show that was devoted to the flight and its victims. The presenter finished the programme with a letter from one who had known Miriam at the University: "She was a blissfully talented creature full of joy and light and love." The words were later placed on her headstone.
July 7th, 1999 - From The Dumfries and Gallaoway Standard
US RELATIVES of the Lockerbie disaster victims are throwing their backing behind a campaign which has been launched to keep open the tiny church that will forever be linked to the tragic pictures of the wrecked nose-cone of Pan Am's ``Maid of the Seas". Tundergarth Church is just 40 yards from the spot where the nose cone of Flight 103 came down after being blasted out of the skies in December 1988, and its future is in doubt because of essential repairs needed to the clock tower.
The church grounds now house a simple Remembrance Room - a ``shrine" to many of the relatives and friends. And local farmer Roy McGregor, chairman of the campaign and a member of the congregation said: ``Relatives and visitors from all over the world come here to remember those who died...it is vital that we save the church." The chairman of the Pan Am relatives group in the US, Jack Schultz - who was at the dedication ceremony of the memorial room which features a plaque, a book containing the names of all who died and a visitors book - said: ``We will do all we can to help save the church - it is a shrine to many relatives." The campaign committee have already started a round of the 64 houses in the parish seeking pledges of support for the church with the future under consideration by the local Presbytery and the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
It's just over ten years since that ``longest" night in 1988 when the nose cone and a number of victims were found just across the road from the country kirk. And it was decided in the aftermath to convert a little building in the church grounds into a remembrance room for those who died. The ministry in the church, which is linked with two neighbouring parishes, is vacant since the Reverend John Miller moved to Glasgow last year. The congregation want to call a new minister but have to prove that the repairs can be carried out first and have been given until the middle of next month to show that they can raise the funds.