On December 21st, about 500 folks gathered at Arlington Cemetery, the site of the National Memorial Cairn, a gift from the people of Scotland to the United States honoring the 270 victims of the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland twenty years ago. It was a time to come together and gather as one, even if in several places, as we did simultaneously in Lockerbie and at Syracuse University, where 35 students were lost on that fateful day, along with those of us gathered at Arlington. It was a time to remember our loved ones, locked in time twenty years back and wonder what lives they might have lead if allowed to. It was a time to remember what we did, as a group of ordinary citizens, to change the way this country and the world looks at terrorism. We passed laws to make the skies safer, to allow victims of terrorist actions to bring legal actions against the country which sponsors such actions, we pressed the US and British governments to find the evidence to convict those responsible, and then had to press the United Nations to bring the most severe sanctions in it’s history against Libya, for their responsibility until they turned over those indicted. It turns out we have fought these fights for twenty years, and sadly we are not done, now enduring yet another appeal on behalf of Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, the only Libyan Secret Service Agent convicted under Scottish law. At one point we were told our group Victims of Pan Am Flight 103 (www.victimsofpanamflight103.org) was second in power only to the NRA. There was a component to the weekend of coming together to remember all of our work and exchange stories of how we did what we did, and where we all our today. I am no longer actively involved with the group, having left the board and stepping down as President in the mid 90’s. But many have carried on since then and will continue in the future.
There is no way to tell the story of what we have been through. And yet, a friend of mine, a fellow photographer, now based in Washington and covering the Capital and White House among other things, has captured images from that afternoon at Arlington. They convey the emotions and feelings of that cold afternoon. Ken Cedeno (www.kencedeno.com) worked for me in Chicago at the time of the disaster. He called to say he was bringing a gift over to us when my wife told him it might not be the best time. Over the following year he saw first hand what one goes through after a disaster like this. He volunteered to cover the anniversary event on his own. As I have said, he did a magnificent job. There is a reason he is one of the finest editorial photographer’s working today. I think you can see in his imagery the power of the day, the emotions, the capturing of the moment. Having been there I can also hear the words spoken, the bag pipes and taps being played by the military trumpeter. To me this is editorial photography at its finest. All I can say is a big thank you to Ken for covering the event. You have given us all a wonderful way to remember the spirit of the day.
To see a more extensive collection of the images from
Arlington use this link:
http://kencedeno.com/PanAm103/index.html All images on this post are copyrighted by Ken Cedeno.