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The anniversary of the Flight 103 air crash tragedy in Great Britain is coming up, on December 21st.   Hilda Graham writes:

"Dear Bess:
I just realized that the day of the terrible tragedy of the crash of flight 103 on December 21, 1988. This is one of the many terrorist acts committed against the U S A and it's allies.

I am recalling the visit I made to Lockerbee to visit the memorial in the cemetery part of which is dedicated to all who lost their lives on this ill fated flight. I wrote the following several years ago and the memory of this visit is still with me today.
Sincerely,  Hilda"

My Visit to Lockerbee

My husband Eddie and I were visiting with our friend Joyce who lives Morecambe, Lancashire, England, which is about an hour's drive from Lockerbee.  She asked us if we would like to go to the Lockerbee and view the memorial in the small cemetery dedicated to all who lost their lives on that fateful day.  I was not sure about making this trip as we were celebrating our 49th wedding anniversary and I did not want to feel the sadness associated with Flight 103.  However we decided we would go, and on reflection are glad we did.

It is so hard to describe this little village at the foot of the moors.  It is so beautiful with green hills all around and quaint little cottages, and is like looking at a picture postcard.

When we arrived at the cemetery I must admit I was a little apprehensive about going in, but after going through the gate and on looking around at all the well kept graves, I felt a sense of serenity and peace that is beyond description.  There were a few villagers putting fresh cut flowers on the graves of their loved ones.  We asked them where the memorial was and they took us to the back of the cemetery where they had set aside a section for the memorial to those lost on that terrible flight.

It is so hard to put into words how I felt as we saw the three marble markers with the names of all the passengers on the larger one in the middle and the crew members names on a smaller one on one side and the names of the villagers on the other side.  There were just a few graves probably for the villagers who were killed on the ground.  There was one special plaque on the ground placed there by the parents of an 18 year old girl with the inscription "May we compare thee to a summers day."  I cried as did Joyce, and Eddie also.  It was not in sorrow but sheer beauty of the words which described this, their only child.  My heart was full, but strangely, the pain I thought I would feel was not there; instead a feeling of tranquility filled my heart.

We were all quiet thinking our own thoughts, trying to visualize the loss these families had suffered and yet feeling that if they visited this resting place of their loved ones, they too would feel peace, for it felt as though God had created an atmosphere of love and compassion.  It was not like being in a dark dreary graveyard but rather a sunny garden where it was hard to feel hate, sort of a restful place.  The people of this village treat this place with the greatest of love and respect, caring for it as if it was their own family who were memorialized here.  As we left the cemetery not many words were spoken for we were wrapped in our own thoughts.

In the village there is a tiny chapel which is dedicated to all the victims.  They have a large book which contains pictures and stories of each of the victims.  The chapel is about 10 foot by 12 foot, where again I got this strange feeling and had the same sense of the presence of love and also the love of God.  I have no idea how old this chapel is but it has the feeling of a hallowed place which has been revered over many, many years.

We also found out that women and men of the village found items belonging to the victims, even clothing which they carefully washed and pressed, and returned the things which could be identified to the victims' families.  This was done on their own initiative and apparently brought comfort to many grieving people.  I am so glad I made that trip because just writing this returns to my mind many of the feelings of that day.

I know this may sound odd, but it is as though we had been touched in a gentle way by all those who died, as if they were saying "All is well, for now we are in a wondrous place, do not cry but rejoice, for we are in Heaven".

I am sure the families of all those who died that day know they will be reunited with their loved ones again.

If anyone is interested there is a very comprehensive web site which gives all the information concerning this tragedy: The Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 Over Lockerbie

Copyright Hilda Graham, 12-2003

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