Gadhafi’s Death: Lockerbie Families React

Oct 20, 2011 3:08pm
gty pan am lockerbie ll 111020 wblog Gadhafis Death: Lockerbie Families React

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Bert Ammerman answerd the phone and proclaimed, “It’s a great day. Gadhafi is dead. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Ammerman’s brother, Tom, died at the age of 36 when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988, leaving behind a wife and two daughters.

“I never thought I would live to see the day that Gadhafi would be brought to justice,” Ammerman told ABC News. “It’s the last chapter for me personally. I now can walk away, nearly 24 years later, and be able to say that my brother and 269 other individuals did not die in vain.”

The Boeing 747 was bombed as it traveled from London to New York, and Gadhafi’s regime was implicated in the attack.

“When it’s all said and done, you never get over the fact that your loved one was blown out of the air at 31,000 feet. But satisifed absolutely, there was justice and our system works,” said Ammerman.

For Rosemary Wolfe, who lost her stepdaughter Miriam, a 20-year-old Syracuse University student returning from a semester abroad, there is satisfaction, but there is not justice.

“While we know that he [Gadhafi] was behind it, we don’t know all the others that were involved,” she said. “We want to know the answers to that … and we won’t have truth and justice until we know.”

The only person convicted in the bombing was Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence agent, who spent eight years in prison before he was released in 2009 on humanitarian grounds because he was “near death.” Two years later, Megrahi is still alive and living in Libya.

“We know that there was no way that Megrahi … did it by himself,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe has urged the U.S. government not to release billions of dollars in frozen assets to Libya’s new government until the people who know more about the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 come forward and provide information.

“At this point I’m concerned now that Gadhafi is gone that everyone will just call it a day and we won’t get any further information,” Wolfe told ABC News. “The one thing the U.S. is intent on is establishing a good relationship with Libya and the basis for that should be the rest of the truth.”

Ammerman does not believe the full story of the attack will ever be known.

“The cloud and conspiracy will never go away, and one thing I do know is that Libya was involved and I am 100 percent sure that he [Moammar Gadhafi]  ordered this to take place,” Ammerman said. “Megrahi to me is irrelevant. He is the guppy in this process. Gadhaif is the big fish.”

Ammerman said he has always believed that once Gadhafi was removed from power the U.S. should immediately open relations with Libya and assist the Libyan people as they establish a new government.

“I never had a gripe with the population of Libya. I’m a firm believer that citizens throughout the world just want to live a good quality of life,” he said. “They do not support or agree overall with the policies of these maniacs. … Today’s enemies are tomorrow’s allies.”

For both Ammerman and Wolfe, Gadhafi’s death may be satisfying, but it will never fill the void in their lives.

“There’s never closure,” Wolfe said. “There really is no such thing as closure because once something like this has happened it changes you and your family forever.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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