Remembrance Week in honor Pan Am 103 victims to start Oct. 19 this year

Silhouettes of SU students who died on the flight will be put up throughout campus during the week.

Most undergraduates at Syracuse University were not born when the Pan Am 103 bombing occurred, killing 35 SU students studying abroad. In honor of their memory, SU hosts the annual Remembrance Week, this year starting Sunday, Oct. 19, urging students to look back and act forward.

Every year, 35 selected Remembrance Scholars at SU plan Remembrance Week. Judith O’Rourke, director of undergraduate studies, helps these scholars, who represent the lives lost on Pan Am 103, organize the week’s events. She believes that even though most SU students were not alive for the Pan Am 103 terrorist attack, they need to be educated about it.

“From my point of view, what’s most important about Remembrance Week is educating people about why it’s important to remember, because terrorism affects us all,” O’Rourke said.

In the wake of recent terrorism, such as ISIS, connections are evident between past acts of terrorism such as Pan Am and 9/11. Remembrance Week seeks to shed light on these connections, O’Rourke said.

On Sunday, a display of chairs will go up on the Shaw Quadrangle in front of Hendricks Chapel, symbolizing where each student sat on the Pan Am 103 flight. Each chair has words of encouragement on it. Additionally, there will be the traditional display of pictures of the students killed in the Pan Am 103 bombing in Schine Student Center. This year, there will also be black silhouettes spread throughout campus, each facing Schine.

“The pictures that are going up in Schine are meaningful. They are our students. They are a part of us at Syracuse,” O’Rourke said. “The silhouettes are meant to subtly catch your attention and lead you to Schine.”

Other events throughout the week, which welcome campus participation, will include: 

Monday, Oct. 20

A three-part program will start at 6:15 p.m. on the Quad. In front of Hendricks Chapel, a cappella groups will sing “In Remembrance” from Requiem as 35 bio-safe dove balloons are released. After this ceremony, there will be a Walk of Peace from outside Hendricks to the Wall of Remembrance in front of the Hall of Languages. At 7 p.m., the Remembrance Scholars will host a Candle Light Vigil to honor the 35 students lost on Pan Am 103.

Tuesday, Oct. 21

A service event will demonstrate the “acting forward” sentiment of Remembrance Week. The event will be held in the Whitman Atrium at 3:30 p.m. The focus of this event is to make a positive impact on the local community by making 375 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Oxford Inn and Bishop Foery Foundation, to help those in need.

Wednesday, Oct. 22

There will be an Open Mic night at Slocum Auditorium from 6-8 p.m. The night is focused on uplifting the community by showcasing what students are good at, such as poetry, music and dancing.

Thursday, Oct. 23

A panel will discuss the documentary We Were Quiet Once, produced by 2012 alumna Laura Beachy, at 7 p.m. The discussion will focus on terrorism in small towns, specifically Lockerbie, Scotland, over which Pan Am 103 was bombed, and Shanksville, Penn. At 8 p.m., immediately following the panel discussion, there will be a screening of Beachy’s documentary about the United Flight 93 crash in Pennsylvania countryside.

Friday, Oct. 24

Remembrance week will culminate with a rose laying ceremony at the Place of Remembrance outside of the Hall of Languages. The ceremony will start at 2:03 p.m., the time 35 Syracuse students lost their lives aboard Pan Am 103.

Each Remembrance Scholar will lay a rose in honor of the student they represent from Pan Am 103. Following the rose laying ceremony, the Remembrance Convocation honoring this year’s Remembrance and Lockerbie Scholars will take place in Hendricks Chapel at 3 p.m. A reception will follow in the lobby of the Heroy Geology Building. 

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