UK Government Ministers will pay their respects at ceremonies in both the UK and the USA joining the friends and family of victims to mark 25 years since the bombing of Pan AM Flight 103 which killed all 243 passengers and 16 crew members and 11 people in Lockerbie.
The Scotland Office Minister David Mundell will attend a service in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington D.C. At the service Mr Mundell will read a message from the Prime Minister in which David Cameron states his admiration for the friends and families of those caught up in the painful process of recovery is “unconditional”.
Speaking ahead of the service Mr Mundell said:
The service in Arlington provides a chance to express our solidarity with our friends in the United States and to pay tribute to the friends and families of the victims and the community of Lockerbie. They deserve our respect and admiration for the formidable way in which they have coped with 25 years of unprecedented global attention.
The Lockerbie air disaster is the biggest loss of life ever in the United Kingdom in a single event. It is horrifying to think what it is like to lose someone in such circumstances. In the years that have followed much of the focus has been on the perpetrators, today however it is especially important to think of those who lost their lives or were caught up in the events and had their lives shaped by that fateful night.
As we look back to pay our respects we can also look forward to the bond that has been created through the scholarship programme between Lockerbie Academy and Syracuse University. This is a beacon of hope that has come out of those dreadful events and as I have seen myself it has given the young people of Lockerbie Academy the chance to fulfil their potential in a way that those were perished that night didn’t get to.
The Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael will attend a memorial service at Westminster Abbey.
Mr Carmichael said:
For me the memory of shock and horror at the Lockerbie air disaster is as strong today as the feeling was twenty-five years ago. It was an act of unthinkable brutality that was seen and felt around the world. Some years after the event I formed my own personal association with the town so I have a small insight into the extents to which that night has affected the people of Lockerbie. As we mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the disaster my thoughts are with those whose lives were changed forever that night.
The Advocate General for Scotland Lord Wallace will be in Lockerbie to attend a service at Dryfesdale Cemetery. He was born and raised in the nearby town of Annan.
Lord Wallace said:
That night in December 1988 remains vivid in my memory; as does my visit to Lockerbie with the town’s local councillors that Christmas Eve. It was a town devastated, but it was also a place where I witnessed compassion and commitment on the part of the emergency services and the local people.
The atrocity perpetrated that night was a shocking reminder of ‘man’s inhumanity to man’. We remember with sympathy those who suffered – and still suffer – grief and loss. But we also remember with thanks those who gave service in the harrowing aftermath and the people of Lockerbie, whose resilience has rebuilt the bonds on community.