Remembrance Week ends in rose laying ceremony, pledges to act forward

The emotional ceremony began at 2:03 p.m., the same time Pan Am 103 was bombed.

Emotional scholars ended Remembrance Week Friday with a rose laying ceremony honoring the 35 Syracuse University students who died on Pan Am 103.

Events took place every day this week to honor the 270 people, including 35 students studying abroad through SU, who lost their lives in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988.  Each year, 35 Remembrance Scholarships, one for each of the 35 student victims, are awarded to undergraduate seniors who represent each student lost aboard Pan Am 103. The Remembrance Week events, which are planned and hosted by the scholarship recipients, honor victims of this act of terrorism and spread awareness about ending further terrorism. 

Photo: Peter Bohnhof
A yellow rose lays on the Remembrance Wall in front of the Hall of Languages during Friday afternoon's rose laying ceremony, commemorating the lives lost in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103.

The final rose laying ceremony concluded a week of “looking back and acting forward,” the motto of Remembrance Week.  It took place at the Wall of Remembrance, where each Remembrance Scholar gave a short speech about the student they represent and pledged to act forward in their name. The ceremony began exactly at 2:03 p.m., the time Pan Am 103 was bombed. The bell tower of Crouse played the Star Spangled Banner and the Alma Mater in the moments leading up to the ceremony, while parents and family of those lost on Pan Am 103 greeted one another and took their seats.

The persistent breeze slowed as the ceremony started, adding a level of calm, and "Orange Appeal," an SU a cappella group sang “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac. A pledge for peace that was signed all week long was on display as scholars laid their roses on the Remembrance Wall outside the Hall of Languages. Scholars and the families of the lost students both cried and laughed as stories were shared.

The family and friends of the lost SU students and the SU community were reminded that the bombing of Pan Am 103 was one of the first acts of terrorism against the U.S., and, as evident today, certainly not the last. Because of this, one of the main goals of Remembrance Week is to educate others about terrorism and take action in ending terrorism.

Lockerbie scholars William Beech and Megan Noble, were also part of the ceremony, representing the special bond that SU has with Lockerbie, Scotland, and the 11 victims from Lockerbie that perished in the Pan Am 103 disaster.

“The disaster not only taught us the meaning of community, but also not to take life for granted,” Noble said. “And this whole process of these two communities coming together is a complete contradiction of the goals of the attack.”

The ceremony ended with the reciting of Ann Brontë’s poem “Farewell” and a rendition of “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.

Following the emotional rose laying ceremony, the Convocation for Remembrance Scholars was held in Hendricks Chapel. The convocation celebrated the achievements of the scholars and urged attendees one last time to look back in remembrance and act forward in honor of those who cannot. Sunshine brightened Hendricks Chapel, lifting everyone into a more celebratory mood, as Tiffany Steinwert, Hendricks Chapel Dean, said a prayer.

“Life and love will always triumph over fear and violence,” Steinwert said. “That is what were are here for today.”

Anastasia Selby, a senior majoring in English, gave the scholar message speech on behalf of all this year’s Remembrance Scholars. To end the convocation, the chapel choir sang the alma mater and the scholars put their arms around one another and sang along. 

Pan Am 103: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

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

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