REMEMBRANCE WEEK 2013
â€œYour sons and daughters will be remembered at Syracuse University, so long as any of us shall live and so long as the university shall stand.â€? chancellor melvin eggers, 1989
remembr a nce week
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SU London alumna, faculty still commemorate, feel loss of students By Jessica Iannetta STAFF WRITER
ONDON — Jen Bidding still remembers not selecting the option to f ly home for Winter Break. Bidding, a 1990 Susquehanna University graduate who spent her entire junior year studying in London with Syracuse University, decided to celebrate Christmas in the city before returning to school in January. Her first class of the spring semester was with Pat Utermohlen, a professor she’d had before. The class was scheduled to meet at the Courtauld Collection in central London. As soon as Bidding stepped into the elevator at the gallery, she saw her professor. “She grabbed me and said ‘You’re
still here’ and we started crying,” Bidding recalled in an email. It was just one month after 35 of Bidding’s classmates had died when the plane carrying them back to New York exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland. Twenty-five years later, Bidding can still recall the events of that winter. Some of the details have faded, but other parts remain vivid: the call from SU London as they tried to locate students, the media swarming outside the study abroad center and the tearful phone call with her mother. For Bidding and other SU London faculty and alumni, memories of the Lockerbie tragedy have had a lasting influence. As the 25th anniversary of the bombing approaches, many are still working to reconcile their current lives with what happened
nearly a quarter of a century ago. “Those were some of the best and darkest days of my life,” Bidding said. Ian Hessenberg recalled the silence at the abroad center that winter morning. Many of the students had already left and the photography professor had come to the center to hand in his final grades for the semester. Students were not supposed to know their final grades before they arrived back in the states, and Hessenberg strictly obeyed this policy. He had broken the rule only once, just a few days before, when he had run into one of his students on Portobello Road. The student wanted to know his grade and, since the student was one of his best, Hessenberg made an exception.
LONDON PAGE 6
Victims group continues search for answers in Pan Am 103 bombing By Nicki Gorny STAFF WRITER
photo courtesy of lawrence mason
Ride on Riders arrive in Lockerbie in the early morning of Gala Day, an annual celebration and highlight of the year for the town. Lockerbie is located in the southwest region of Scotland.
n the late-December days following the Pan Am Flight 103 explosion over Lockerbie, Scotland, friends and family of the 259 passengers boarded their own flights across the Atlantic. “Victims’ family members went to Lockerbie because they just wanted to be there,” said Frank Duggan, president of Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, Inc. “They were still bringing bodies in from the field.” The unplanned gathering of parents, spouses, children and loved ones in the aftermath of the 1988 crash, which killed 35 Syracuse University students traveling back to the United States after a semester abroad in London and Florence, laid the groundwork for a victims’ advocacy group that still has political clout 25 years after the bombing. The group formally organized in
February 1989 to discover the truth about the bombing, said Duggan, who said he did not know anyone on the plane. The founding members advocated for airline safety and created a support network for grieving family and friends. While the passage of various air safety and victims advocacy legislation speak to the weighty inf luence of the victims’ group, current board members say the group continues to be an active political force working toward its founding goals. “A lot of people say, ‘What is there to do after 25 years? What do you do?’” said Mary Kay Stratis, the group’s chairwoman, who lost her husband in the December 21, 1988 bombing. But with two yearly meetings and between three and four phone conferences among the 18 members of the group’s board each year, she said, the group has maintained a consistent level of activity through the years. And now the family members who
were too young to participate in 1989 — including Stratis’ own daughter — are stepping up, she said. “I don’t fear the thing is going to fall apart,” she said. “The next generation is doing very nicely keeping alive our mission.” Stratis noted treasurer Glenn Johnson’s role in advocating for airline safety. Johnson said this involved physically “making the rounds” in Washington, D.C. and lobbying lawmakers when the victims group formed. The group has since established itself as an influential force. “We have now reached a point where we have continual contact, and as their personnel change, we make that connection again,” he said. Johnson, whose daughter was coming home from college in London aboard the Pan Am f light, represents the victims of Pan Am Flight 103 on the TSA Aviation
SEE VICTIMS PAGE 6
cover illustration by andy casadonte | art director
t h e i n de pe n de n t s t u de n t n e w spa pe r of
Editor’s Note: To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing, The Daily Orange compiled a series of stories remembering the lives of those lost and the mark they left on SU’s history while also looking forward. Thank you for reading.
sy r acuse, new york
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KINDRED SPIRITS Long-lasting relationships transcend devastation of Pan Am 103 attack By Maddy Berner MANAGING EDITOR
he tragedy of Pan Am Flight 103 is more than a story of devastation. It’s a story of friendship and kindness. Of selflessness and memories. It’s a love story. On Dec. 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 went down over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. The terrorist attack killed 270 people — 35 of them Syracuse University students. The 189 Americans killed made it the deadliest attack on U.S. civilians until Sept. 11, 2001. In the 25 years following the tragedy, a slew of events changed lives all over the world. Family members lobbied for answers, suspects were tried and programs were created to honor those who died. And while most of those events have come and gone, one outcome of the attack remains a powerful force to this day: lasting relationships. ••• Anna Marie Miazga sat outside of a post office on her first trip to Lockerbie, Scotland. It was 1990, more than a year after she learned that her daughter Suzanne had perished in the Pan Am 103 attack. That day, Miazga was meeting the man who had found her daughter’s body. George White was working as a paramedic in Lockerbie the day of the attack. Suzanne’s body was found just outside the building that housed the ambulances. “George still has nightmares about the disaster,” Miazga said. Time passed before White decided to honor Suzanne’s memory by planting a pink rose tree where he had found her body. He sent Anna Marie a letter and photo of the memorial — proof that her daughter would never be forgotten. The two eventually cultivated a long-distance friendship through letters and emails. But one day, the letters stopped, and Miazga learned that White’s wife had died of pancreatic cancer. Bonded by lost loved ones, Miazga and White’s relationship continued to grow. They talked on the phone, they got to know each other’s families and he wrote her love letters. “We just healed together,” said Miazga. “He loved Suzanne like she was his daughter. He carries her picture in his wallet all the time.” Twenty-five years later and their relationship has only grown stronger. White now lives with Miazga in Utica, N.Y. “I couldn’t do without him now,” Miazga said. They spend every day together. He opens the door for her. He feeds the dog. He makes her coffee every morning. Her daughters and friends love him. “She’s the most beautiful, generous women I’ve ever met,” White said. “I love her very much.” Miazga said she believes her daughter somehow brought White into her life. “When she died, her body fell right next to his building,” she said. “No other body fell anywhere near there.” ••• Molly Linhorst knocked on the door of a bedroom inside Brewster Hall. It was 2010 — Linhorst’s freshman year. She was shy, but eager to meet people on her floor. Next door was Allison Donaldson, a Lockerbie Scholar — one of the two students awarded a scholarship to attend SU for a year.
photo courtesy of lawrence mason Students from the Syracuse University London Centre and Jeff Licata, one of their teachers, pause for reflection at the stone marker that signifies the crater center formed by the flaming fuel tank of Pan Am Flight 103. “From the very beginning, she struck me as a bundle of fun and sass,” said Linhorst. “She’s just such a sassy little Scot.” And what an eventful year it was. After dinner in Brockway Dining Center one evening, Donaldson roped Linhorst into pulling a practice joke. With some leftover shrimp, the two friends ventured into the girl’s bathroom. Through muffled giggles, they placed a few shrimp on top of a toilet seat and ran out. Then, they waited. “When we sat outside the toilet, someone would walk past us and go into the bathroom and then you’d hear a really big scream,” Donaldson said, “and then they’d come running out and they’d see us two giggling there.” They also told each other secrets, took care of each other and were brutally honest when necessary. “She’s the type of friend that anyone would really want,” Donaldson said of Linhorst. “She’s somebody that’s going to call you out when you’re being stupid and somebody who will have a lot of fun with you when you’re not.” Three years later, Donaldson is back in Scotland and Linhorst is preparing for her duties as a 2013 Remembrance Scholar. “I really wanted to do this because of my friendship with Alli,” she said, “because she has been so important to me and she’s one of my best friends.” Donaldson won’t be able to attend this year’s Remembrance Week, but both girls know and appreciate their relationship and its importance 25 years after the attack. “By having this scholarship,” added Donaldson, “it allows crossover between two towns that weren’t previously connected and now are very much connected and will always be connected.” ••• Fergus Barrie started the engine of a rundown blue car on the outskirts of Lockerbie, Scotland.
It was the summer of 2011. In the back seat was Lawrence Mason, a SU photography professor and a colleague. Mason had brought his photography class to Scotland and was in need of a shooting location. Barrie, who had just been selected as a Lockerbie Scholar, was his guide. For one week, Barrie assisted the photography group as they traveled around the area. He’d pick up lunch and carry equipment. He knew who to talk to and where to go — and never asked for any compensation. During the trip, the three men stopped by Barrie’s old primary school, where an impromptu assembly was hosted to introduce the American professors and field questions about their experiences. Instead, everyone asked about Barrie. “They wanted to hear about Fergus,” Mason said, laughing. “I guess that’s just evidence of the affection that the community has for him. That was before Barrie even stepped foot on SU’s campus. In the last three years, he’s taken one of Mason’s classes, become a resident adviser and now manages the men’s soccer team. “We’re just buddies,” said Mason. “He’s like a family member to me.” Barrie described Mason as a “life mentor.” He said he could go to Mason with any sort of problem and “nine out of 10 times, he’s got an answer for it.” Mason said he hopes other people have found a similar friendship following such a tragedy. If people really want to honor those who perished, he said, they should go to Lockerbie and make a friend — just as he did. Said Mason: “We are stronger by the relationships we form together than we are apart.” email@example.com @mjberner
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IN MEMORIAM T he following 35 students were aboard Pan Am Flight 103 on Dec. 21, 1988. That day, an act of terrorism caused the plane to go down over Lockerbie, Scotland. Below are descriptions about the students and some entries from personal journals.
Jones was known as Shrub due to his “curly mop of hair.”
Her parents said she was: “Exuberant, loyal and compassionate.” Otenasek’s concern for the “man by the side of the road” influenced her decision to become to a social work major.
In his high school yearbook, Jones described his future plans: College, Sportswriter for The Boston Globe, marriage upon retirement, spend final happy days in Boston Garden enjoying another Celtic dynasty.
Junior social work major at Western Maryland College
ALEXIA TSAIRIS ALEXANDER LOWENSTEIN
Junior at Newhouse
Tsairis had a love for volleyball. Her SyraEnglish major cuse coach, Dan Lowenstein was Schulte said: “Her known for loving teammates bonded the outdoors, spe- to Alexia not only cifically surfing. His because of her love favorite place to of volleyball, but surf was at Monfor her feverish love tauk, Long Island. of life.”
PETER PIERCE School of Architecture
Pierce’s wife described him as a “modern renaissance man and an old-fashioned gentleman.”
MIRIAM WOLFE Musical theater major
Rabbi Robert Klensin, in his eulogy for Wolfe, said: “We may not smile today or tomorrow, maybe not next week. Somehow we must focus not on what could have been, but what was, on the beauty of her life and all that she brought to us and so many others. So long as we live she, too, shall live, for she is now a part of us as we remember her.”
Photojournalism major A friend who wrote to Shapiro’s mother said: “Amy was so vibrant, vivacious, full of the love of life. She was truly a special gift to so many people.”
Junior photography major A family friend of Vrenios said he was “very bright, very curious and one of those people that other people just gravitate to. He was very excited about the world.”
Junior at Newhouse
JASON AND ERIC COKER
Twin brothers from Mendham, New Jersey. Jason was a junior at Newhouse and Eric was a junior economics major at the University of Rochester.
Musical theater major Boulanger’s last performance was for the Funge Theater Class in London, where she choreographed and directed, and for which she performed her original dance about the effects of cliques in society. Friends described Boulanger as quiet, but “when she got on stage she was another person-she absolutely loved theater.”
Student in the College of Human Development Smith wanted to become a fashion designer due to her love of shopping. Her father Edward said of her: She was so excited about coming home. She had everything going for her — personality, friends. She just loved life.”
PAMELA HERBERT Economics and sociology major
Herbert was interested in the “plight” of homeless people in London when she was studying abroad. She hoped to do similar work with homeless people in her home state of Michigan. ”Her biggest accomplishment, she felt, was helping people, ” said a childhood friend Angela Murphy.
FREDERICK “SANDY” PHILLIPS School of Management
Junior English major and journalism minor
Below is an excerpt of a poem from Tom Coker, Eric and Jason’s father:
An excerpt of a poem written by Hunt:
Brothers together they come in sweetness and beauty
“Something has happened
Phillips was elected to the Student Government Association in 1987. An excerpt from Phillips’ writing:
“Light and giving within a space; A journey through a timeless place; Smiles which flow from a child’s face; These are you.”
LOUISE “LUANN” ROGERS
Junior political science and public relations major
Gifted by God with Goodness and light their privilege, their burden
Junior advertising major
Kind in the land of the uncaring
Those close to Colasanti said he was “gregarious and energetic.” He enjoyed meeting new people and seeing new things.
Virtuous in the land of the ambiguous
“He left a trail of friends wherever he went,” said his father.
Junior majoring in A senior interior English at Univerdesign major at the sity of ColoradoMaryland Institute Boulder of Art Rogers Her parents said of She was known to Philipps: “She was do everything with going to be a clever “style.” Her ambition publisher or a witty was to pursue work lawyer, a tender in the art field. wife and mother, a sturdy citizen.”
Junior at the Maryland Institute of Art College friends said they will remember Dater for one attribute above all others: “her broad and ever-present smile.”
Junior at the School of Management Cory was said to be an avid sports enthusiast. His parents said: “We are sure he’s still ‘watching’ the Boston Red Sox games.”
Giving in the land of the greedy Sighted in the land of the blind Aware in the land of the somnolent May God let them and our love be one forever
SHANNON DAVIS Junior child and family studies major
Her mother said of Davis: “when I think of Shannon I see her beautiful hands as well as her sparkling smile. In her young life, she happily and busily went about leaving her mark of daffodils on much she touched…”
STEPHEN BOLAND Advertising major at Newhouse
What friends said of him: “Steve was not the type of person whose attitude was that of a gogetter; it was that of a friend, an advisor, a person you could trust with anything. Few people who met him weren’t attached to his love of life, something which was an inspiration to us all.”
An excerpt of a journal by Monetti:
Brother together they left in God’s grace
Junior English and history major
An excerpt of a poem written by Kelly:
JOHN “J.P” FLYNN
Junior at Colgate University majoring in geography with a minor in economics Flynn’s favorite quote: “Losses are a part of life...It’s what you do with these losses that counts... One should not get caught up in one’s little defeats.” — Sen. Bill Brady
STEVEN BERRELL Communications and management major
Berrell was remembered as being a loyal friend and caring person who reached out to many people in a special way. He enjoyed exploring new places and ideas with an open mind.
“We are all like nigh snow that dances through the silver orb of the streetlight then is lost. Think of me as nigh snow that, in turn, danced through the silvery orb of the streetlight then was lost in the soft darkness.”
Graduate student from the College of Human Development
KENNETH BISSETT Junior at Cornell University
To keep us apart
His parents on Bissett: “Kenny was a Christmas present and one that You’re in my heart improved with age like fine wine. Each Someday soon From now ‘til for- year his abilities and talents brought ever us more and more I’ll meet you again pride and joy, whether it was his And we’ll be grades, his writings together or just being a wonI’m not sure how derful person. God is now enjoying And I’m not sure the fine wine that when is Kenneth John Together, forever, Bissett, but God Somewhere, my should have waited friend.” until 101, not 21.” But always and forever
The parents of Cohen said: In a letter Miazga “Theodora Eugenia wrote to her mother, Cohen — Theo she said she wanted everyone called to “live life and not her — could be just exist.” loving and mean; logical and hysterical; cynical and enthusiastic. She made enemies as easily as she made friends. But one thing in her life never varied, her desire to act. In the sixth grade she announced ‘theater is my life.’ She was robbed of the opportunity to try and live that dream.”
History and politics and government major at Ohio Wesleyan University One of Schultz’s professors said: “He was the kind of student you pray for. He was a sponge. Every experience or piece of information you could give him he would absorb.”
Junior at the School of Social Work Her mother Barbara wrote: “My fervent wish is that all families with daughters be fortunate enough to share a warm, loving and sensitive relationship as Kesha and I.”
Junior in VPA A former drama teacher of Cardwell said: “When I think of Tim, the word energy springs out at me. He never walked; he ran. He didn’t whisper; he shouted. And there was always a sense of a barely controlled force with him, like the caged strength of a young leopard.”
“So analytical tonight — feeling old at 20, that lost innocence of youth. Don’t sit back, make the most of everything. Do all you can while you can. Life is a onetime deal. You can’t ever re-do what you missed the first time. The opportunity is here, stop looking past it. Sure, December 21 is going to be great but so is October 10. Be aggressive, be fun and go crazy. There is no reason to hold anything back. Nothing to lose.”
Student at Fordham University Tobin parents said: He was “eternally optimistic about the successful outcome of all his undertakings. He was valued as best friend by more people than we ever knew about.”
Before his death, Ergin said a quote by Teddy Roosevelt summed up his life philosophy: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that know not victory or defeat.”
Her mother remembers her: “Beauty radiated from within her. Gentle and kind, full of laughter and joy--surrounded by love. Her greatest virtue was humility, her greatest joy, helping other.”
Junior in VPA
Art major in VPA
photos and information courtesy of su archives
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SU LONDON FROM PAGE 2
“I said, on this one occasion only once, I said ‘You got an unequivocal A.’ And he just, he slapped me on the back so hard that I nearly fell in the gutter,” Hessenberg remembered with a laugh. “And we parted great friends and promised to keep in touch.” Three days later, Hessenberg stood in the SU London director’s office, staring at the student’s name on a victim list. Four other students out of the 12 he had taught that semester were also on the list. In the days that followed, Hessenberg began collecting any newspaper articles he could find about Lockerbie. He went through his students’ work from the past semester, saving photos they’d taken. He put it all in a folder, which he would sometimes show his students. Christopher Cook, a professor of communications at SU London, still mentions Lockerbie in his classes, but said he feels the bombing is, for many of his students, a part of the past. “I think in the wake of Sept. 11, which, in a way, was such a more terrifying memory, that something like Lockerbie becomes part of another history,” he said. “It becomes part of a longer, wider history of acts of terrorism and the whole fractured world that we live in.” And the world never felt more fractured than those first few days after the bombing. Realizing that the SU London community needed a way to come together, an interdenominational service was organized at a church near the abroad center. The service helped provide students and faculty with a way to support each other, Cook said, and provided everyone there with a real sense that “you could deal with this thing.” After the service, Cook and a fellow SU London professor took a long walk together around the city. They felt, Cook recalled, “utterly helpless.” “That I think was the most painful moment,” he said. “Because you began to realize a very simple truth: that you were the last person to see some of these students, before even their parents had seen them. And that was an awful moment.” The horror of those first days has since receded, Cook said, and there have been many brighter moments since. About six or seven years ago, he was able to write a recommendation letter for one of his students who successfully applied to be a Remembrance Scholar. These connections between Lockerbie and the present still persist for Hessenberg as well. The Lockerbie tragedy has made him a better teacher who’s more sensitive to his students’ problems, he said. Now, when he has problem students, he’ll pull them aside and talk to them as friend, not as the guy who stands at the front of the class and hands out papers. “The whole experience was very shaking,” Hessenberg said. “And, I suppose, to be truthful, it has colored my life, in a way.” But when he teaches, Hessenberg rarely mentions the bombing. After about five years, he slowly stopped making references to Lockerbie in class. But it has taken 25 years for him to be able to hand over the folder. Two weeks ago, he turned it over to an SU archivist. “For my part, I feel quite relieved to have handed this whole folder that I had over to the archivist because I feel I’ve let go of it now,” Hessenberg said. “It was a great relief but it’s still very strong in the memory.” firstname.lastname@example.org
Lockerbie to bring back Christmas lights By Erik van Rheenen STAFF WRITER
ome December, Lockerbie’s cold winter sky gets incredibly dark after sunset. That’s one of the first things Melissa Chessher noticed when she and her daughter moved there in the winter of 2001. It was 13 years after the Pan Am Flight 103 tragedy rattled the small Scottish town, and Christmas spirit was still tough to come by. Chessher noticed some sparse lights strung around town, but nothing like the house in the town over, which had a shockingly bright display that caused local rubberneckers to create traffic jams. She searched high and low for a Christmas tree. “The disaster was so close to Christmas,” said Chessher, the chair of the magazine journalism department at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. “There was no joy to be had. A lot of people took down their trees because they couldn’t celebrate.” Twenty-five years after a terrorist attack killed 270 people — 35 of them Syracuse University students — aboard the flight, Lockerbie residents will resurrect its Christmas lights with the hopes of bringing back the town’s holiday spirit. One facet of Chessher’s sabbatical in Lockerbie was writing magazine stories that chronicled how communities heal. Because as dark as the sky gets when the winter sun drops behind the horizon, the memory and burden of selfimposed responsibility for the lives lost in the Pan Am tragedy casts wider, darker shadows. Abbey Morton is only 24 years old. She’s too young to remember that, for 10 long Decembers, her native Lockerbie kept the town’s Christmas lights off. Her earliest recollection about accepting the tragedy was during its 10th anniversary. She listened to pupils from the Lockerbie Primary School sing Christmas songs. It was the first year they turned on the lights again. “In the early 2000s, we had lovely lights and great switch-on events. One was Victorian-themed with people dressing in old style clothing and there were carolers from Lockerbie Academy,” said Morton, a staff reporter for the Dumfries Courier, in an email. When the Christmas lights came back on in 1998, Lawrence Mason, a multimedia, photography and design professor, said it was because people in the town thought the children deserved to have a proper Christmas. But because they had fallen into 10 years of disuse, some of the lights needed repair. “Christmas lights in Scotland are respectful and subdued, at least to American stan-
VICTIMS FROM PAGE 2
Security Advisory Committee. He said the advisory committee is currently wrapping up a project that ultimately increased screening of plane cargo from 17 percent to 100 percent in four years. It is also working on an initiative to establish PreCheck in airports, which would hasten security lines by allowing passengers to file background checks prior to arrival at the airport. This is in effect in more than 40 airports currently, he said, and is expected to reach 100 by year’s end. Aside from airline security, the Pan Am victims have played a significant role in shaping the way the U.S. government deals with victims of disasters, said Richard Marquise, a retired FBI agent who worked on the investi-
photo courtesy of lawrence mason Gravestones lie underneath a tree by Tundergarth Church near Lockerbie, Scotland. The town has a population of about 4,000 people and is 20 miles from the English border. dards,” Mason said. From Christmas to Christmas, the lights have dimmed, but haven’t gone out. Morton said last year’s display featured a few strings of fairy lights over Lockerbie’s town hall and three Christmas trees stationed across the town. So in early 2013, townsfolk banded together to form a lights committee, and Morton found herself joining the ranks. The town is undergoing a regeneration project, which includes planting decorative trees along the roadside. At Christmastime, those trees will be festooned with strings of lights; nearby lampposts will sport lit motifs. Lockerbie still carries the weight of 25 years of solemn remembrance, annually wrapping Christmas cheer in sorrow. But Chessher said it’s the small things — like Christmas lights — that allow townspeople to enjoy the spirit of the season. “It’s comforting to know the town is allowing
itself to embrace the joy of the season,” she said. “Allowing themselves some cheer gives them some reprieve from having to be so vigilant.” The Dumfries and Galloway Council allotted the lights committee a grant to buy this year’s Christmas decorations. With carryover funds from previous committees and community donations, the committee will be able to cover the cost of erecting this year’s display. In the fall semester of 2003 or 2004, Mason took a train to Lockerbie when he was teaching in London to look at the Lockerbie lights. “You can’t imagine how dark it gets,” Mason said. “On the shortest day of the year, it probably gets dark around three.” When the temperatures dip, daylight dwindles and nights grow long, Lockerbie will always get dark during nights in the cold heart of winter. But, at least for one Christmas season, Lockerbie’s nights will be a little brighter.
gation from the day of the crash. “We did not have a lot of experience in dealing with victims,” Marquise said. “This was the first big one where we had to deal with 189 American victims and you actually had a cohesive group that came together and started asking questions of investigators.” Marquise said he remembered the first time he addressed the victims group in Albany, N.Y., in early 1991 and the painful experience of hearing the family members say they felt the FBI wasn’t making any progress in the investigation. “In terms of dealing with victims, it’s something that we did not do very well in the late 80s and 90s,” Marquise said. But since then, he said, Congress has passed legislation to give victims more rights and ultimately deal with victims in a more proactive manner. “I won’t say they came out of Lockerbie, but part of the Lockerbie
experience fed into how it’s in the government today,” he said. The relationship between the victims group and the government continues to develop, said Duggan, president of the group, considering the investigation into the bombing is still open despite the indictment of Libyan Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi. He said the group met with former FBI Director Robert Mueller for a briefing on the investigation before Mueller’s retirement in September. At the briefing, nearly 25 years after the actual bombing, Duggan said, Mueller promised to find who else was involved in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing. “We’ve been promised that by the U.S. government and I believe the U.S government is going to do the best they can to get to the bottom of that,” Duggan said.
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I’LL BE YOUR MEMORY First Remembrance Scholars reflect on significance of being part of inaugural class, continuation of program By Casey Fabris
EDITOR IN CHIEF
hen Greg Mayes heard Pan Am Flight 103 had gone down, leading to the death of its 270 passengers — 35 of them Syracuse University students — he got into his car and went to buy flowers. Twenty-five years later, Mayes still remembers driving around campus — which he said felt like a “ghost town” — delivering the flowers.
campus for final exams when news of the bombing broke. “I remember walking to my last final exam one extremely cold December morning and I think it was the last final exam slot. NBC News was trying to interview me as I crossed the Quad. There was just a lot of thoughts going through my mind,” Mayes said. “I went and somehow got through my last final exam. Whoever that professor was I want to thank them in their generosity in the grading. I don’t know how well I was prepared for that final after what had transpired the day or two before that.” When Mayes heard about the creation of the Remembrance Scholar program, he knew he wanted to be a part of it. Mayes selected to be part of the first class of Remembrance Scholars, which was selected for the 1989-1990 school year. Today, the program is still at SU. Though Mayes became a Remembrance Scholar in his junior year, the university now selects 35 seniors — one to represent each of the SU students lost on the flight — as Remembrance Scholars.
“They walked around, they went to class, they ate in the dining halls, they lived on campus, they had friends, they went to parties. They did all the things that kids your age are doing now.” Michael Mason
1989 -1990 REMEMBRANCE SCHOL AR
daily orange file photo Bagpipes, traditional of Scotland, were played at the dedication of the Place of Remembrance in April of 1990. The name of each victim is engraved on the wall. Mayes, who was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at the time, got out of his car and laid flowers in front of each fraternity and sorority house that had lost someone on the flight. On Dec. 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 went down over Lockerbie, Scotland. On the plane were 35 SU students returning from studying abroad in London and Florence. Many students, like Mayes, were still on
“When Pan Am happened, SU decided that we needed to remember the students lost and the obvious way to do that at a university was to establish a scholarship in their honor,” Judy O’Rourke, director of undergraduate studies, said in an email. The Remembrance Scholars established Remembrance Week in the mid-1990s because, at the time, few students on campus had personal connections to the bombing. The week was created to educate students about the history of Pan Am Flight 103 and to discuss terrorism, O’Rourke said. The experience of being a Remembrance Scholar has certainly evolved throughout the years. None of the Remembrance Scholars on campus today were alive in 1988 when the bombing happened. In 1989, the campus wasn’t remembering; the bombing wasn’t a distant memory. It was
still a fresh wound, and the university was still shrouded in a cloud of grief. Twenty-five years later, the week is about remembering. The mood and the week of events have evolved from one of raw emotion to one of thoughtful reflection. Many of today’s scholars have interactions with the families of the victims they represent. In 1989, that wasn’t the case. Michael Mason, who was also selected as a junior to be part of the first group of Remembrance Scholars, said interaction with the family wasn’t part of that first year’s ceremonies. His memories of the families come from the memorial service held in the Carrier Dome. The scene Mason saw is one that has stuck with him. He wrote about it in the essay portion of his application to become a Remembrance Scholar. During the memorial, he watched one specific family: a father, a mother and a few siblings of one of the victims. “[They were] just huddled together at that memorial service and just kind of rocking back and forth and having to deal with the reality of the moment. The thought that I had at the time was that that could have easily been my family — I have a brother and a sister,” Mason said. “This happened to real people and it was real. So much of college is not reality, at least it wasn’t back then, but that’s when it really hit me. This was a much bigger deal of just losing a few people. The effect on the families was significant.” In 1989, Mason said, it was easy to recognize what being a Remembrance Scholar was about. The students were there for it all: They had gone to the memorial service in the Carrier Dome, taken finals amid of the tragedy and had personal connections to the students who died. Today’s scholars don’t have that same historical frame of reference. It’s important, he said, that everyone remember these 35 students as real people. “They walked around, they went to class, they ate in the dining halls, they lived on campus, they had friends, they went to parties. They did all the things that kids your age are doing now. We may have done it a little differently, but really when you break it down college life probably hasn’t changed all that much,” Mason said. For both Mayes and Mason, there’s something special about being part of the inaugural class of Remembrance Scholars. Mayes said it’s still on his resume. It’s something he tells his children about. When he brought his sons to SU for lacrosse camps, Mayes said, he took them to the Place of Remembrance, which was dedicated in 1990 in front of the Hall of Languages, and told them about Pan Am Flight 103 and the connection he has to the 35 students. Mason was there for the memorial’s dedication. They played bagpipes, traditional of Scotland. It’s a sound that Mason’s mind conjures up every now and then, and one that always brings him back. Said Mason: “Every time I hear bagpipes from here on to the rest of my life it brings back the memory of standing on top of the hill in front of the Hall of Languages and dedicating the memorial to the people.” email@example.com @caseyfabris