LOKERBY, Scotland – it rained here on a cold night in December 1988.
was 26 at the time. At first she didn’t understand what was going on.
I walked down the street and there was rubble everywhere, like it was a war zone, she said Thursday. The whole place was lit up.
There was rubble everywhere, like a war zone, Karen Gass remembers from the night of the bombardment.
The bombardment of Pan Am Flight 103 marked this Scottish town at the English border. Memories, investigations and ongoing processes mean that a tragedy that took place more than three decades ago continues to cast a long shadow.
Eleven people were killed at Sherwood Crescent, including a mother, father and daughter who were blown up by aircraft wreckage. Destruction, shattered suitcases and the bodies of 259 passengers and crew fell on the surrounding fields.
In the following weeks the residents of Lockerbie gathered to visit the relatives of the victims. They washed and ironed all clothing found at the scene of the accident that was not collected as evidence.
Some worked for years to appease the families who returned to pay their respects, and held the city together when the investigation and prosecution began.
They did the same in the process of
Abdel Basset al-Megrahi,
a Libyan citizen who was the only one convicted of his involvement in the attack, and after the Scottish government released him in 2009 after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Like the 2011 popular uprising in which the Libyan leader…
was murdered. The graves are well maintained. Offers of support were exchanged.
This support continues today, as the U.S. Department of Justice plans to drop criminal charges against the man who, according to U.S. investigators, built the bomb,
Abu Aguila Mohammad Masoud,
who, according to high-ranking defence officials, are currently being held by the Libyan authorities.
The people here say they are aware of the final stages and the Megrahi family’s attempts to prove their innocence posthumously.
Many say they believe that Gaddafi and his regime are ultimately responsible for this atrocity, a view shared by Scottish officials and former officials close to the investigation.
Some people vote privately with
an English doctor who lost his daughter on flight 103 and is campaigning for Megrahi’s release, saying the wrong person has been convicted. The final hearing, which began after the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Board referred the case to the Court of Appeal on suspicion of a miscarriage of justice, took place in November. The verdict is expected in the next few days.
I’m not interested in politics, he says.
Counsellor during the bombardment, now 74 years old. Those of us who have been involved know all the theories about who could and who could not, but in reality we are all family. That was 32 years ago, and we did our best to keep going.
Maureen Tut was in Lockerbie with her sons on the night of the bombardment and saw shards of metal falling from the sky.
However, the ongoing investigations and processes do not allow Lockerbie to be forgotten.
Yeah, here we go again, he said.
79 years old, waiting for the bus in the soft morning rain. But I never forgot that. How could you do that?
She was in Lockerbie that night in 1988 with her sons when she heard a scream and went to watch. One of my sons dragged me in, she says. She saw shards of metal fall from the sky, destroying much of the nearby Sherwood Crescent.
A Catholic priest who helped to comfort the survivors of the disaster said at 30. Birthday 2018 that Lockerbie will never be the same again.
Even the children growing up now, the children in high school and high school, Lockerbie will also be a part of their lives, he said.
However, there are signs of hope. A large part of the damaged area has been restored with modern bungalows. New sports facilities were unveiled, as well as two memorials, one at Sherwood Crescent where Lockerbie residents died and a large granite memorial to everyone who died, as well as memorials and other tributes to the passengers.
Lockerbie still has a strong bond with those who have lost loved ones in the United States.
Each year, two students receive a scholarship to study for a year at Syracuse University in New York, which lost 35 of its students who traveled as a group on Flight 103.
My son’s been gone for a year. He said it was beautiful, said Mrs. Gass, who is now 58 years old. A lot of people have joined over the years, so maybe some good has come out of it.
Bombardment of Scar Lockerbie, located near the English border.
Email James Hookway at [email protected].
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