Lockerbie anniversary not emotional occasion, says victim’s father

Friday will mark 30 years since Pan Am flight 103 blew up above the Scottish town.

Dr Jim Swire
Dr Jim Swire

The 30th anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing will not be an “emotional occasion” for most loved ones, according to the father of one victim.

Dr Jim Swire has spearheaded campaigns by bereaved relatives for a full inquiry into the atrocity, which saw the loss of his daughter Flora.

On December 21 1988 – the eve of her 24th birthday – Ms Swire boarded Pan Am flight 103 from Heathrow to New York’s JFK airport.

She was bound for Boston to celebrate Christmas with her American boyfriend. But the promising student would never make it across the Atlantic.

Now, 30 years on, Dr Swire claimed the anniversary on Friday will not be an emotional occasion as relatives have lived with their loss every day since the bombing.

The 82-year-old said: “Each anniversary is a time when those not directly involved become aware again and remember what happened.

“But it isn’t that much of an emotional occasion for most of us, because we live with the loss of our family members every day.

“After 30 years of trying, we still feel that we are being obstructed from discovering the truth.

“We have approached every prime minister – with exception to the current one – to ask for a full inquiry.”

Ms Swire was one of 270 people killed when the flight exploded above the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

Memorial events are being held there and in Heathrow, as well as several in the USA, to mark the anniversary.

Kara Weipz, president of of the Victims of Flight 103, Inc, lost her brother Rick Monetti in the atrocity.

The American campaigner said: “With the approach of every anniversary, there is a deep sadness that absorbs you.

“I think about all the memories and time that have passed without my brother. But part of what this whole tragedy has taught me is to be grateful.

“I’m grateful for the time and memories that I had with my brother and we had as a family.

“I’m grateful for my parents who have raised me to remember, but always live my life to the fullest.

“I’m grateful to the other family members and friends who have been there for our family through the sad times and the happy times.”

In 2001, after a lengthy legal process, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi was convicted of the worst mass murder in British legal history and sentenced to life imprisonment.

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008, leading to a decision to free him under compassionate release rules.

He died in Tripoli, Libya, in May 2012.

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