Virtual SU Ceremony and Charges Against Pan Am 103 Bomb-Maker Mark 32nd Anniversary of Tragedy

Dec 21, 2020

The Virtual Remembrance Ceremony featured a scroll of the names of all 270 people who perished aboard Pan Am Flight 103 and on the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland.
Credit Syracuse University

The families of the 35 Syracuse University students who died aboard Pan Am Flight 103 32 years ago learned Monday that the US Justice Department isn’t finished investigating the bombing over Lockerbie Scotland. 

Attorney General William Barr announced that the US has charged a third conspirator.

"According to the criminal complaint affidavit, Mas'ud built the bomb that destroyed Pan Am 103, and worked with [Abdelbaset] al-Megrahi and [Lamin Khalifah] Fhimah to carry out the plot."

Barr says Abu Agela Mas'ud admits his role in a 2012 interview that was just provided to the US by Libyan law enforcement.  Kara Weipz  was at the press conference in Washington.  Her brother Rick Monetti was one of the SU students aboard the flight.

Kara Weipz is the sister of Richard Monetti, the SU Junior who died aboard Pan Am Flight 103.
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  "I think I speak for the majority of family members when I say we are justified, vindicated.  Our patience and persistence has proved fruitful.  The motto of the family members over the past 32 years has been 'the truth must be known.'  Today confirms what we believe to be true, and a step forward in holding all those responsible for the murders of 27  innocent people.  We've always been assured that this was an open case and that no lead would be unfollowed.  It is the resilience of family members who have not let anyone forget our loved ones."

SU remembrance scholar Kylie Nikolaus honored Weipz’s late brother during an hour-long virtual ceremony Monday.

SU Dean of Hendricks Chapel Rev. Brian Konkol presides over the virtual ceremony at the Wall of Remembrance.
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"Richard 'Rick' Monetti had a love for life which was captured in his devotion to family, passion for sports,  and his honest, humorous writing.  The closing words of Rick's philosophy of life say, 'don't sit back.  Make the most of everything.  Do all you can while you can.  Life is a one time deal.  The opportunity is here.  Stop looking past it.'"

All 35 scholars reflected on the lives of the students during the ceremony.   Chancellor Kent Syverud acknowledged the loss of the lives cut short.

"We can't know what our students would have gone on to accomplish.  They were aspiring artists and teachers; social workers, doctors, military officers, lawyers, and journalists.  Each person on that flight and on the ground carried with them the potential to change the world in large and small ways.  In looking back and acting forward, we honor and work to fulfill their unrealized potential."

The ceremony also featured reflections from former Lockerbie scholars.  Each year, two students from the small Scotland town are selected to study for one year at SU to maintain the bond forged by tragedy more than three decades ago. 

SU Religious leaders depart an empty Hendricks Chapel for the Wall of Remembrance. 
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