Pan Am Bombing 25-Year Anniversary Marked in U.K., U.S.Thomas Penny and Jonathan D. Salant
U.S. and U.K. officials marked the 25th anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, brought down by a terrorist’s bomb en route from London to New York, with a pledge to bring justice to those responsible.
The plane crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 11 residents in addition to the 259 passengers and crew on the airliner. One Libyan was convicted in the bombing, and U.S. and U.K. officials said today they would continue investigating.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking at a ceremony at the Flight 103 memorial cairn in Arlington National Cemetery outside of Washington, said the victims’ legacy “persists in our unfinished but ongoing work to see that justice is done, and to ensure that those who commit acts of terror are held accountable” for their deeds.
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron issued a statement saying that the “fortitude and resilience” of those affected by the bombing demonstrates why terrorists will never win. He said the emphasis on the 25th anniversary should be on the victims and those left behind, rather than the people responsible. Bagpipes played in Lockerbie to commemorate the attack.
“You have shown that terrorist acts cannot crush the human spirit,” he said. “That is why terrorism will never prevail.”
The U.K., U.S. and Libya issued a joint statement today offering “their deepest condolences to the families of the victims of this terrible crime. We want all those responsible for this most brutal act of terrorism brought to justice, and to understand why it was committed.”
The governments said in the statement that U.S. and U.K. investigators would be visiting Libya to discuss cooperation “in order to reveal the full facts of the case.” Such cooperation would include “sharing of information and documents and access to witnesses.”
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the Libyan who was the only person ever convicted of the attack, died at his home in Tripoli last year, three years after being released from a Scottish prison on medical grounds. He returned to Libya to a hero’s welcome. Some of the victims’ families remain unconvinced of his guilt.
The victims included 35 students returning home from a Syracuse University overseas study program. The New York university had its own memorial service planned.