Rose-laying to honor Pan Am 103 victims
Thirty-five roses, each symbolizing one of 35 former Syracuse University students, will be laid on the Remembrance Wall for Pan Am Flight 103 Friday.
The rose-laying ceremony commemorates SU students who were studying abroad in London and Florence 20 years ago. They were killed in the Pan Am explosion over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.
The ceremony will take place at 2:03 p.m., the time of the crash. A Remembrance Scholar Convocation will follow, honoring this year’s 35 Remembrance Scholars and two exchange students from Lockerbie at 3:30 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel.
Friday’s ceremonies are the climax of a weeklong schedule of events planned by the Remembrance Scholars and SU’s Office of Undergraduate Studies. The 35 seniors chosen for the scholarship spend months preparing for Remembrance Week.
Eileen Fahey, assistant to the director of Undergraduate Studies, has worked on Remembrance Week for the last five years. She works closely with Judy O’Rourke, director of Undergraduate Studies, in advising the Remembrance Scholars through the planning process.
‘Once they are chosen at the end of their junior year, the fall semester of their senior year is pretty much taken up with planning the remembrance week activities,’ Fahey said. ‘The 35 students are the cream of SU crop.’
The scholars manage tasks like passing out carnations to students on the Quad, printing posters and handbills and constructing the cairn in front of Hendricks Chapel – a traditional Scottish memorial.
‘We’ve been meeting every Sunday for an hour since the Sunday before classes started, as a whole group and individual committees,’ said Shannon McLoughlin, a Remembrance Scholar and a public relations and marketing major. ‘On average, everyone has probably put about two hours a week of meeting time into it.’
Jessica Sauve, a public relations and policy studies major, is one of four Remembrance Scholars on the Rose Laying Ceremony Committee.
‘Throughout the week we have activities and ceremonies, but none of them really break down and look at each scholar individually like the Rose Laying ceremony does,’ Sauve said. ‘It’s our formal remembrance ceremony.’
Each scholar researched his or her victim through the Pan Am 103/Lockerbie Air Disaster Archives housed in E.S. Bird Library. Some spoke to family members and friends of the victims. The students will say a few things about the victim they represent, and lay a rose on the Wall of Remembrance in their honor. A bagpiper will play at the ceremony, and the group will also sing a traditional Scottish folk song.
‘This year we also have visiting folks from Lockerbie, Scotland, and London faculty who will be attending as well,’ Fahey said. ‘In addition to the Remembrance Scholars and their families attending, we always have many families of the victims attend the ceremony.’
Gordon Ferrie, Lockerbie Academy’s senior Depute Rector, will travel to SU for the ceremonies. Universities like Ohio Wesleyan and Cornell will also send representatives to honor their students who were studying through the SU Abroad program and killed in the terrorist attack.
‘I was handing out carnations the other day, and a woman came up to the girl next to me,’ Fahey said. ‘She looked at her pin and said ‘Oh, that woman was my roommate.’ She said she will definitely be there on Friday.’
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