It’s hard to believe it has been 25-years since the Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 killed all 259 passengers and 11 people on the ground.
Several events in the US and the UK will mark the 25th anniversary of the worst act of terrorism on British soil, which devastated families on both sides of the Atlantic days before Christmas.
A remembrance service will be held on Saturday at Westminster Abbey, in London, for the victims of the Lockerbie bombing.
Dryfesdale Church in Lockerbie, which saw the tragedy over its skies, will also mark the 25th anniversary on Saturday.
A service to remember the Lockerbie bombing will be held at the Pan Am 103 Memorial Cairn in Arlington National Cemetery and at Syracuse University in New York state, which lost 35 of its students in the disaster.
Syracuse’s Hendricks Chapel, will mark the occasion with a service which will begin at 2:03 pm ET, the time the bomb exploded (7:03 pm in Scotland), and will include the recitation of a specially composed “Common Prayer for Peace.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted on Saturday:
As we mark 25 years since the Lockerbie tragedy, my thoughts are with those who lost loved ones so close to Christmas.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) December 21, 2013
Cameron said of the Lockerbie bombing:
“Though 25 years have passed, memories of the 243 passengers, 16 crew and 11 Lockerbie residents who lost their lives on that terrible night have not dimmed.”
“Over the last quarter of a century much attention has been focused on the perpetrators of the atrocity. Today our thoughts turn to its victims and to those whose lives have been touched and changed by what happened at Lockerbie that night.”
Cameron said a strong bond now exists between the town of Lockerbie, Scotland and Syracuse University, which offers scholarships to two Lockerbie students each year and represents a “lasting and optimistic legacy” that emerged from tragedy.
The UK, US and Libyan governments have vowed to work together to reveal “the full facts” of the Lockerbie bombing which claimed 270 lives.
A joint statement from the three countries was released to mark the terrorist act and read in part:
“On the 25th anniversary of the bombing of Pan American flight 103 over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, the governments of Libya, the United Kingdom and United States of America reiterate their deepest condolences to the families of the victims of this terrible crime.”
Libyan citizen Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was the only person ever convicted in connection with the Lockerbie bombing.
He was released from jail by the Scottish government on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, and died last year professing his innocence on his death bed.
On December 21, 1988 Pan Am 103 was a little over half an hour into its journey from London to New York, when it exploded over the sleepy town of Lockerbie in Scotland. The bomb that brought down the Boeing 747 had been planned to go off over the Atlantic, but instead it exploded over Lockerbie.
The Lockerbie bombing was especially heartbreaking because of the number of young lives lost so close to Christmas and the innocent victims that died on the ground.