December 21, 1988, four days before Christmas, was to have been filled with joyful reunions. It quickly turned horrible for the families and friends of the 259 people on board and 11 on the ground who perished when Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland. Twenty-five Syracuse University students were among the fatalities. Another 10 were from other campuses but were part of Syracuse’s study abroad program.
In the days before 24-hour news on TV and the internet, I remember where I was when I first heard the news. My sister called to tell me that the Pi Beta Phi chapter house at Syracuse, the place where I had lived most of my college life, was pictured in the New York Daily News. My chapter lost three sisters in the terrorist attack. My heart turned heavy. As a young mother preparing for the holidays, I silently wept for the families whose holidays would be forever marred by the tragedy.
These are Syracuse students and those enrolled in the SU study abroad program with GLO affiliation who perished:
Karen Lee Hunt, Pi Beta Phi, Syracuse University
Julianne Kelly, Pi Beta Phi, Syracuse University
Alexia Tsairis, Pi Beta Phi, Syracuse University
Cynthia J. Smith, Delta Phi Epsilon, Syracuse University
Amy Shapiro, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Syracuse University
Gary Colasanti, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Syracuse University
Steven Berrell, Phi Delta Theta, Syracuse University
Stephen Boland, Delta Tau Delta, Syracuse University
Alexander Lowenstein, Zeta Psi, Syracuse University
Richard Monetti, Alpha Tau Omega, Syracuse University
Thomas Schultz, Phi Delta Theta, Ohio Wesleyan University
John Flynn, Kappa Delta Rho, Colgate University
Colleen Brunner, local sorority Alpha Sigma Chi at SUNY-Oswego
A memorial wall in front of the Hall of Languages was dedicated in April 1990. A “Remembrance Week” takes place each fall. Each year on December 21 at 2:03 p.m., the exact minute the plane exploded, a service is held at Hendricks Chapel. Syracuse University established two programs to memorialize the lives lost. Thirty-five seniors are chosen yearly to be “Remembrance Scholars.” Two graduating seniors from Lockerbie Academy are given the opportunity to study at Syracuse for a year through the “Lockerbie Scholars” program.
My thoughts and prayers go out to all the families who were affected by the events that took place 29 years ago.
P.S. And as usual, the readers of this blog, send me info and tell me stories.
At Arlington National Cemetery, there is a cairn honoring the 270 lives lost. I was also reminded that there likely were alumni of GLO on board. I am certain of this, too. A loyal reader recounted a story about a member of her P.E.O. chapter, an alumna of an NPC group, who lost her son in the tragedy.