Off-Topic: December 21, 1988

625563_10101399884307476_1834834738_nI remember it vividly.

I remember Ron Curtis…the unflappable Syracuse newscaster…always the rock…the trusted news voice…our city’s Cronkite having his JFK assassination moment, balancing his responsibility to the community with the raw emotion felt as a parent.

A Syracusan.

A human.

I remember the television in our kitchen, a 5-inch black and white under the cabinet model.

I remember this voice….a voice that for years was responsible for nourishing us with the news at dinnertime. This was the voice that told us that an airplane had exploded over a town in Scotland that no one had ever heard of, and that no one would ever forget.


I (personally) don’t know anyone who died on this flight, but I didn’t need to. Indulge me for a second here, but Pan Am 103 is Syracuse’s 9/11, but on a much smaller scale. We all felt it. Everyone on the plane, including 35 students from Syracuse University and a couple that lived near me in Liverpool, died. The wife of that Liverpool couple worked at the Wegmans on Taft Road and was a face that I recognized from grocery shopping with my parents. My only connection to the students came as a result of my work at the college many years later. As the communications contact for the women’s volleyball team, I became acquainted with the story of Alexis Tsairis — a Newhouse student and volleyball player that had a team award named in her memory. Earlier this week, my friend Brian told me that his brother was traveling home from Europe and was supposed to be that flight.

He missed it.

This week, Post-Standard columnist Sean Kirst wrote a beautiful column about Syracuse University’s Pan Am 103 archives and its curator:

Box 004 contains personal artifacts carried onto Flight 103 by Alexander Lowenstein, one of the SU students who died while flying home after several months abroad. Peter Lowenstein, Alex’s father, said he and his wife, Suse, were told their son wore the sweater into Heathrow Airport on the late December day when he left London. The family believes Alex removed the sweater and stowed it in an overhead bin. After the bomb went off, a burst of wind carried the sweater away from the fire and shattering violence. It drifted, somehow undamaged, to the ground.

It’s a must read.

At 2:03 p.m. EST, 25 years after the bombing, services will take place in Syracuse, New York, Arlington, Va., London and Lockerbie. Candles will be lit and prayers will be said. Bells will toll. Tears will be shed.

I detest the phrase, “Never forget.”

Saturday, we will remember.

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