Night of remembrance

Students gather to honor the victims of Pan Am Flight 103 after the recent release of the Lockerbie bomber.

More than 50 students gathered at the steps of Hendricks Chapel on Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil to remember the students killed on Pan Am Flight 103.

On Dec. 21, 1988, a terrorist bombing on Pan Am Flight 103 caused the plane to explode over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. Thirty-five of those were students returning from Syracuse University’s study abroad programs.

Photo: Mitchell Franz
Jon Barnhart, a junior, listens to several students and Remembrance Scholars speak.

The vigil comes on the eve of Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi's trip to the United Nations in New York City. The gathering gave current students the opportunity to express themselves after the release of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the only person convicted of the Lockerbie bombing. He was released to his home country of Libya this August on compassionate grounds, after being diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer.  He served only eight years of his life sentence.

The vigil was planned by the Student Association and the Remembrance Scholars, a group of 35 students awarded with Remembrance Scholarships every year to pay tribute to all those who were lost in the terrorist attack.

John Crandall, a senior Remembrance Scholar, spoke on the steps of Hendricks Chapel, using the candle as an analogy for the lives of the students who were killed.

"Keep the light of healing and remembrance alive,” Crandall said, as he shielded his candle from the breeze.

Several other Remembrance Scholars spoke on the steps about the effects of terrorism and honoring the students who lost their lives.

After everyone was given a chance to speak, the crowd somberly walked to place their candles on the Remembrance Wall in front of the Hall of Languages. The candles remained lit as some students lingered and talked quietly.

Jon Barnhart, a junior political science and international relations major, helped organize the vigil.

“I realize that 21 years is a long time. This is the last class of Remembrance scholars who were alive when it happened,” Barnhart said. “The vigil is a way for everyone to express their opinions, whether they are angry, upset, or sad.”

Syracuse University released this statement after the release of Al- Megrahi:

"During this time our thoughts are with the Pan Am Flight 103 victims and their families and, as always, keeping the memories alive of those we lost.  From the beginning, we have wanted justice to be served in this case.  Given the tremendous suffering this terrorist act caused to innocent citizens, their families, and their communities, we are extremely disappointed that  Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi has been released.”

Wonderfully written,

Wonderfully written, emotional and informative all at once.

Great first story, I'm a fan!

Great first story, I'm a fan!

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