Pan Am Flight 103 'As It Happened'

A documentary about the 1988 bombing that killed 35 SU students premiered Wednesday night as part of the annual Remembrance Week.

In the dark, the only light from a screen fell on pensive faces and teary eyes. Students gathered Wednesday at the Kittredge Auditorium in Huntington Beard Crouse Hall to memorialize a tragedy that happened 24 years ago.

As part of Remembrance Week, a documentary called, "As It Happened," was shown to commemorate the victims of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing on Dec. 21, 1988. The plane, en route to John F. Kennedy International Airport from London Heathrow crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 259 people in the aircraft and 11 on the ground. Two Libyan terrorists installed a bomb in the baggage cabin and caused the explosion. Among the victims were 35 Syracuse University students, who just finished study abroad programs and were headed home to the States.

Each year, 35 SU seniors are chosen as Remembrance Scholars and receive $5,000 in honor of each of the victims of the terrorist attack. A series of remembrance activities is organized by the scholars, including a rose ceremony and convocation. “One really cool thing that happened this year is the chairs sitting on the quad," said Remembrance Scholar senior aerospace engineering and math major Natascha Trellinger. Scholars placed chairs in front of Hendricks Chapel according to the positions where victims sat on the plane.

Approximately 40 students attended the screening, which opened with a speech by Patricia Burak, director of Slutzker Center for International Services. She taught one of the students on the flight, Jason Coker. Just a few days before the attack, Burak received a Christmas card from him. “I saw the documentary again last night and I cried again even after 24 years,” she said. "They will be remembered forever and we will keep the memories alive."

Senior biochemistry and geography major and Remembrance Scholar Alyssa Ierardo said she attended the event because she hadn't seen much news footage of the attack. "I don’t really know what to say after watching the video" she said. "It makes everything very real."

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