THREE Lockerbie youngsters
tragically listed among the 270 victims of Britian's worst air disaster were poignantly
remembered by their friend and neighbour, father Pat Keegans on Monday.
In a highly charged atmosphere, standing in biting cold and rain-soaked
Dryfesdale Cemetery garden of remembrance, he shared his thoughts with around 200 bereaved
relatives, locals and representatives from various organisations.
His heart-felt speech, which encompassed a gauntlet of emotions, distilled the range of
feelings evoked by the 10th anniversary and explored all the aspirations for the future.
Sharing the desperation of the families and Lockerbie's own people whose lives have been
turned upside down by the bombing of Pan Am 103, he begged for the clock to be turned back
and called for justice and truth.
All the while, he talked as if he was speaking directly to youngsters, Joanne Flannagan,
Lynsey and Paul Sommerville who, like him, all lived in Sherwood Crescent.
And in the hushed cemetery, it was as if they -- and
the other "precious human beings" -- were listening.
With his voice calm but strong, his words echoed.
"From A to Z: 24 letters of the alphabet, 21 nationalities, 270 lives from
"A" -- John Michael Gerard Ahern -- to "Z" -- Mark James Zwynenburg.
"Turn back the
clock. Let it be 7pm on the evening of December, 21, 1988.
"Let Pan Am Flight 103 continue to its destination, New York. Then you and we can
live our lives to a different scenario.
"Two hundred and seventy unique, precious, human beings.
"Among them I remember you, Joanne Flannigan from Sherwood Crescent. You are only 10.
"And, again in Sherwood Crescent, I remember you, Lynsey Sommerville. You're also
only 10 years-old; and your brother Paul Sommerville. You are 13. And I speak with you and
Lynsey and Joanne as you deliver Christmas cards.
"Turn back time for you, Joanne, Lynsey and Paul, and for all whose names are upon
this stone, and even for ourselves I wish we could.
"But we live in reality, and the reality of a bomb ticking away, unseen and lethal.
"This is why we're here today in front of your stone of remembrance.
Father Keegans then looked back to the first
anniversary, reminding the youngsters;
"You know that I said that you would want us to live our lives joyfully and, in
that way, be a living memorial to you because that is the way you would want us to live.
"And when your cairn was dedicated at Arlington, you know that I also said that we
should leave no stone unturned until all responsible for your murder were brought to
justice. That will happen."
He then asked;
" What would you want me to say today, Joanne, Lynsey, Paul and all the voices
that speak to us from this stone. What would you say?
"Yes. That the people of Lockerbie should be proud of themselves. That the love,
care, courage, which they showed to others from the very beginning 10 years ago to this
present day, are an example to the world of how we should live as human beings on this
earth, with care and love for each other in God's world.
"Yes, you would want me to express deep and lasting gratitude to the countless number
of wonderful people who helped this community of Lockerbie to recover."
Father Keegans then said;
"We would speak to you now. What shall we say to you?
"Some would tell us that we should draw a line now at your 10 anniversary."
But looking directly at the mourners, he said;
"We shall not draw any line. To do so would be an insult to your lives, to your
families, to your friends, and to the people of Lockerbie.
"That does not mean we live in the past. The past lives in us, and you are very much
part of our life in the present..
His words brought comfort and expressed the beliefs of the American
families, according to Mr Bert Ammerman, who lost his 36-year old brother, Thomas to the