Balloon display, candlelight vigil start 26th annual Remembrance Week on Monday

Remembrance Scholars released 35 dove-shaped balloons in honor of each SU student who died on Pan Am 103.

Remembrance Scholars gathered with the Syracuse community Monday evening to honor the 35 Syracuse University students who died in the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Kicking off Remembrance Week, Monday’s ceremony started at 6:15 on the Quad outside of Hendricks Chapel. It began with the releasing of 35 biodegradable dove-shaped balloons that were tied to the chairs on the Shaw Quadrangle, each depicting where an SU student sat on Pan Am 103. Two dove balloons took an early flight, but the ceremony was still peaceful and meaningful to the scholars the attendees.

Kendrea Cameron, judicial review board chair for Student Association, was among those who said she felt the ceremony was very significant. “I was invited by one of the scholars to support the victims, and I really believe it’s important to acknowledge the events of that day,” Cameron said.

A small choir sang “In Remembrance” as the 35 dove balloons were released. Emotional Remembrance Scholars then called upon the even attendees to join them in a walk for peace to remember the victims. They also asked everyone to sign a pledge to promote peace and to find inner peace.

As they walked toward the Remembrance Wall in front of the Hall of Languages, for a candle light vigil, the crowd participating in the Walk for Peace grew. After the sun set, white candles were passed out to all attendees at the Wall of Remembrance and the scholars talked to the crowd about their experiences as Remembrance Scholars and the honor of representing an individual who lost their life 26 years ago. Hushed discussion about the arrival the Pan Am 103 students’ families buzzed through the crowd, with Remembrance Scholars commenting that they were excited to meet and speak with them.

Hailey Temple, the scholar who organized the chair display and the balloon ceremony, told people in the crowd how meaningful it is to be a scholar. “It is so rewarding to get to represent someone and work will all these ridiculously talented scholars,” Temple said.

A hush fell over the crowd at 7 p.m. when scholars began lighting candles. Flames were passed between people as Hendricks Chapel Dean Tiffany Steinwert talked about remembering and acting forward with good deeds.

“We pause as a campus community in the name of those who perished in the bombing of Pan Am 103,” Steinwert said. “Not simply to remember, but to remember the past in the midst of our present and change our future in looking back and acting forward.”

Steinwert then went on to read the “Common Prayer,” created by herself and Lockerbie Scotland’s Rev. Sandy Stoddart, that is meant to be read around the globe on the anniversary of this tragedy: Dec. 21 at 2:03 p.m.

To end the candle light vigil, scholars and attendees said why and how they “act forward.” People shared how they act forward for justice, for peace, for the friends and family of those lost in terrorism attacks and for those who are not able to act. 

The group of Remembrance Scholars worked to keep a consistent message in all the week's activities, spreading the idea of looking back and acting forward in all of this week’s programs. There are events scheduled every day this week to honor the lives lost and celebrate this year’s scholars. 

Pan Am 103: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: The Legacy of Pan Am Flight 103

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