20 Years Later: Remembering Pan Am Flight 103

"There's no manual on how to deal with a disaster like this, but the Lockarians did everything right, every step of the way, including gathering all the belongings that fell from the plane, finding who they belonged to, washing all the clothes, folding them, packing them and returning them to the families," he said. "They took it upon themselves to go to the bodies and put a flower, and say a prayer, and look after the bodies."

Twenty years later, the pain is not lessened for the families of the victims, Mason said. As he prepares for this year's Remembrance Week and the publication of his book, he said he has found closure.

As for the families, some have found peace, and others may never. But if any good could come out of this tragedy, he said, the bond between SU, the victims' families and a little town in southern Scotland is it. And his book, as a tribute to the Lockerbie people, he hopes, is another.

Keeping a Memory Alive

Twenty years ago, Matthew Grzelak and Jaclyn Pfaehler were barely 2 years old.

They don't remember the Pan Am 103 crash. But they remember the victims. Grzelak and Pfaehler are two of the 35 Remembrance Scholars from SU. It's their job to represent two of the victims and to help the university community remember. It's a job Grzelak said gets harder every year.

"We've reached that point where people were either really young or not even born. We're one of the last ones who were even alive. It makes our jobs harder in trying to connect that to the students," he said.

The scholars have been preparing for this week since the end of last year. They've researched the victims they represent, made plaques, worked on educating students and prepared for the various ceremonies to be held throughout the week.

One of those is the rose-laying ceremony, where the 35 scholars will talk about the student they represent and lay a rose to remember them by.

It's also a chance for the scholars to meet the victims' families, which is something Pfaehler is constantly thinking about, she said.

"You think about what you are going to say to someone who's lost so much. I go back to the relationship with my mother and I try to think about what I'd want someone to say to her. There's nothing I can say but, 'I remember your daughter, I remember that she was an amazing person, even though I never met her. I feel like she is the friend I never had,'" Pfaehler said.

Pfaehler and Grzelak said the bulk of the work is done. All that's left is to reflect on their role in keeping the students' memories alive.

"I look at how I would want to be remembered and I wouldn't necessarily want to be remembered with sadness, but with celebration and that's how I'm treating it with my person," Grzelak said.

But it's not just about this year's Remembrance Week, or even their time at SU. Grzelak said this experience has affected him forever.

"I'm always going to remember him, especially during December when it actually happened. Wherever I am, I'm going to share it with who I'm with," he said.

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