By Elissa Candiotti SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Nearly three decades have passed but the Syracuse community still feels the same grief and pain it did on December 21, 1988. That day, 270 lives were lost in a terrorist attack, including 35 Syracuse University students who were flying home from London after a semester abroad.
“There’s no way to have closure on something like that,” Vanessa St.Oegger-Menn, a Pan Am 103 Archivist, said. “But there is a way to take that type of loss and turn it into something positive.”
The Syracuse community has committed to do just that by annually honoring the victims of the Lockerbie Bombings. The mission kicked off this year on Sunday, Oct. 8 with a 3.5 mile run, the Race to Remember, dedicated to looking back and acting forward.
“Tragedy is so real but you can’t forget,” Christina Frega, a Syracuse University alumna, said. “It’s a healing process from generation to generation.”
Runners and walkers spent time talking to the Syracuse University Remembrance Scholars, who shared stories about the 35 students they are each representing this year. Participants were encouraged to write down ways they plan to remember the 270 victims and spread acts of kindness to others.
“Those students were living you know their best lives and putting their best foot forward always, and that’s how I keep going in their name.”
The event successfully raised $3,753, which will be donated to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund through the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
The Race to Remember was the first of many events planned this month to commemorate the fallen. A candlelight vigil, panel discussions, and a rose laying ceremony are scheduled for Remembrance Week, starting on Sunday, Oct. 22. The week-long series of activities aim to educate people on the history of the attack and how to keep the victims’ legacies alive.
“We’re stronger together,” Joyce LaLonde, a Community Specialist at Syracuse University, said. “When the community comes together, a lot of great things can happen.”