Washington DC White House

Ordinary People United by Tragedy

Lasting Impact

Within weeks, heartbroken and outraged victims’ families across America became a crusading force demanding government address critical issues stemming from the attack. Citing the deadly pattern of “business as usual,” to protect and subsidize industry interests over public interest, these accidental activists championed historical changes to enhance flyers’ victims’ rights and get basic restitution. Their work continues to bring all attackers to justice and keep flyers safe.

Legacy Story Project

The December 21, 1988 terrorist attack profoundly changed the lives of tens of thousands of people around the globe including Americans, Scots, and victims’ families from 21 different countries. From the tragedy emerged stories of sacrifice, hope, resilience, generosity, and advocacy. The Foundation is committed to documenting these essential stories and to giving voice to the victims’ loved ones, first responders, clergy, scouts, and Lockerbie community; the Pan Am Airways; Syracuse University.

Legacy Story Guidelines
First Responders Lockerbie

First Responders

Within hours of the crash, over 300 firemen and 1,000 police officers from across Scotland arrived to aid in the search for victims and recovery of evidence. In the following months, hundreds more UK and US investigators joined these efforts, which spanned a disaster area of 845 square miles.

Laundry ladies

Hometown Heroes

When Pan Am 103 crashed into Lockerbie, Scotland, residents of the small community leapt to action. They selflessly aided first responders, assisted with the months-long search effort, and hosted grieving victims’ families. They built profound and lasting relationships with each other and with those impacted by the attack globally. 

Memorial Dryfesdale cemetery

Survivors

Victims' families had to navigate slow, inaccurate information from airlines, authorities, and the news media. Lockerbie was overrun with destruction and death. Syracuse U. lost alumni. Pan Am employees lost co-workers, then their jobs. The global impact involved the loss of homes, workplaces, security and a sense of trust in the U.S. and UK governments.

Accidental Activist Meeting With President Bush

Accidental Activists

In the months and years following the terrorist attack, many victims' loved ones channeled their grief and anger into political action. These individuals had no background or training in activism, and they fought for and accomplished tremendous change in aviation security, disaster crisis management, and restitution for victims of terrorism.

Protest Outside Pan Am Headquarters

Champions of Truth, Justice, Accountability and Change

Out of the disaster emerged a diverse ensemble of professionals and families who fought for change. From advocating for flyers' rights, demanding legislation, to filing a civil lawsuit against the terrorists, these courageous advocates secured meaningful change that makes the sky a safer place. Their quest for truth, to bring all terrorists to justice and to keep flyers safe continues.

Our Global Community

Book Covers
Global Community
Community Volunteers Dogs
Syracuse University Campus
Children at 9-11 memorial wall
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For more than three decades, individuals and organizations have worked to uncover the truth about the attack; advocate for justice, accountability, and change; and honor victims and survivors. We salute this inspirational work and aspire to build upon all bodies of work, amplifying voices to tell the complete Pan Am 103 Lockerbie story.

Explore Further

Authors & Artists Explore More

Authors & Artists

Airplane Loading

Aviation Safety and Security

911 Memorial Wall

Community Partners

Flyers Rights

Flyers’ & Victims’ Rights vs. Business as Usual

Daily Mail Cover

Historical Archives: Curated Collections

Drew Young Participate

Legacy Story Project

Living Memorial Gallery

Living Memorial

Lockerbie Then & Now

Lockerbie: A Lesson in Humanity

Arlington Cemetery Memorial Cairn

Memorial Sites & Monuments

Pan Am Employees card 31st Anniversary

Pan Am Employees

President Bill Clinton and Victim's Family at Memorial Cairn Dedication

Remembrance Programs & Publications

Syracuse University Campus

Syracuse University

USS Vincennes

Terrorism, War, and Petro Aggression

Nose Cone Pan Am Flight 103

The Attack

Group of Young Volunteers

Volunteer