Monday 4 December 2017

Should the air disaster be marked this year?

[This is the headline over an item published yesterday on the DnG24 website. It reads as follows:]

Dumfries and Galloway Council last week confirmed that they have no plans to mark the anniversary of the 1988 attack, in which 270 people died, including 11 on the ground.

However, Lockerbie Community Council remain unsure on how, and if, the people of Lockerbie want to honour December 21 this year.

And they are urging locals to get in touch and make their wishes known to the community group.

Discussing whether or not to mark the tragic event, councillor Adam Wilson said: “It is important that the anniversary is marked and all those who tragically lost their life 29 years ago are remembered.

“But any anniversary must be respectful of the local people who live with the memories and scars of that tragic night.”

And Colin Dorrance, who has a dual connection to the disaster, says it’s a complex issue. As a teenage police officer Colin was one of the first at the scene on December 21.

But he has also seen that good that can grow from tragedy in the form of the Syracuse Scholarship, which was awarded to his daughter Claire in 2012 and son Andrew earlier this year.

Through his children’s connections to the States he has formed his own bonds with the New York college and the people that keep the scholarship going and keep alive the memory of their students who died that night.

Colin said: “I feel that the subject remains a difficult, complex one for the town to deal with. There are those who still live in the community that were profoundly affected, who perhaps wish not to be reminded – that should be respected.

“Remembrance can be a very personal thing.

“It’s also understandable that the town does not wish to be forever defined by a tragedy.”

He added: “However, as the incident passes further back into history and the town moves forward, I sense that there is also a growing need to be more open and public about what happened and that we should find a way to express that somehow.

“Out of the depths of one of the most horrendous crimes in British history, our town rallied, its services pulled together and there are thousands of accounts of selfess acts of kindness, consideration and support shown – to others, to next of kin, their friends, families, and to visitors from all over the globe – then and in the decades since.

“There is something in all of that to be actively remembered and publicly commemorated. The ongoing links between Syracuse University and Lockerbie Academy exemplify this and we should perhaps explore how to extend those precious bonds wider into the Lockerbie community.”

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