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SU Remembers Victims Of Pan-Am 103 With Death Of Bomber

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Syracuse, NY (WIBX) - The only man ever convicted of the Lockerbie air disaster is dead. He died of cancer yesterday at the age of 60 in Libya. 270 people were killed, including, 35 SU students, on December 21, 1988, when Pan Am flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie Scotland.

Kelly Rodoski, Communications Manager at Syracuse University says the death of Abdel al-Megrahi serves as a day of remembrance. “Well here at Syracuse University we of course are thinking of the families and friends as we always have, and hoping that this brings them a sense of comfort and closure,” she said.

Rodoski was a student at the college when the tragedy happened. She says that day will forever be seared in her memory. “Back in 1988, we didn’t have the cell phones and Facebook, we didn’t even have personal computers in our residence hall rooms,” she said. Rodoski says she found out by word of mouth, seeing students being very upset and spreading the word about the tragedy. “It was something that really just knocked you to the ground, it was such a senseless thing first of all, this was something that happened in other places–it didn’t happen here. And, it happened to people who were in the prime of their lives, who were young, who had  everything to live for, who were basically overseas trying to branch out, learn more, engage the world … you just couldn’t believe it, it was something that just didn’t happen and shouldn’t happen,” she said.

She says the loss is something you learn to live with but the pain never goes away. She adds that SU continues to honor the legacy of the victims through scholarship programs and by teaching younger generations how to make the world a better place, something the 35 students killed that day were doing. “We are turning our focus now to: What lessons can we learn from this, how can we teach today’s students who weren’t even born when this happened, how can we teach them to take lessons from this and go out and  make the world a better place in their own way? So, that’s our challenge now,” she said.

SU is not holding a formal observance of the death of al-Megrahi. The college does hold an annual Memorial Scholarship event in October to announce the 35 winners, and a Memorial Service on December 21, the day the tragedy happened. al-Megrahi was released from prison on compassionate grounds on August 20, 2009. At the time officials said he had terminal cancer and only expected to live for three months.

Brendan Smialowski, Getty Images

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