A Letter From Our Founder

Victoria Cummock holding John Cummock's attache

© Derek Hudson / Getty Images

In the summer of 2018, I visited the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. As I wandered through the site, my heart sang at this testament to human dignity, courage, and sacrifice. I was deeply moved by the poet Virgil’s quote on the wall of Memorial Hall: “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.”

I immediately reflected on a similar historical terrorist attack against America, the December 21, 1988, bombing of Pan American flight 103, flying 6 miles above Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. That day profoundly changed my life, and that of tens of thousands of Americans, Scots, and people from 21 countries.

Until the events of September 11, 2001, this bombing was the single largest terrorist attack in U.S. history, and the specific event that propelled America into the age of modern global terrorism. Yet over three decades later, most of the public has little awareness of terrorists attacking America at 31,000 feet, or that this atrocity still remains the oldest cold case of mass murder in U.S. history.

Walking the Museum’s spaces, I saw the exhibition: The Hunt for Bin Laden depicting the massive U.S. global effort expended over 2 decades, involving countless individuals across dozens of U.S. and allied government intelligence, security, and military agencies, to hold accountable Bin Laden and al-Qaeda operatives.

Hunt for Bin Laden Exhibition at 911 Memorial and Museum

A section of The Hunt for Bin Laden exhibition at 9/11 Memorial & Museum. © C&G Partners.

I lamented why America did not use its vast reach, power, and might to fervently pursue justice and accountability for the Pan Am 103 victims, as it did for other terrorist attacks targeting America, like the attacks on September 11, 2001, and the September 11, 2012, attack against the U.S. diplomatic post and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya.

Why hadn’t the U.S. and UK taken lead investigative responsibility for what was, in 1988, the largest terrorist attack in U.S. history, and leave it to Scotland’s smallest and least funded police force? U.S. federal courts have jurisdiction to prosecute crimes on board U.S. aircraft regardless of location. At the outset, various international groups claimed responsibility for the attack, which broadened the investigative scope beyond the 845-square-mile Lockerbie crime scene, to include various international state sponsors of terrorism and dozens of inter-continental suspects. 

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There are significant differences between U.S. and Scottish criminal law for admissibility of evidence, witness testimony and sentencing. Multiple jurisdictions routinely try criminals under applicable national and local laws. Aside from issuing the 1991 criminal indictments and 2020 criminal charges, why haven't U.S. authorities ever arrested or prosecuted ANY suspects for the mass murder of 190 American citizens and the 69 others aboard a U.S. flagship?

"Why haven’t U.S. authorities ever arrested or prosecuted ANY suspects for the mass murder of 190 American citizens and the 69 others aboard a U.S. flagship?"

The 2001 Scottish criminal trial against two Libyan officials acquitted one, convicted the other and then was ultimately released after eight years on compassionate grounds. No one believes that if al-Megrahi did have a hand in this, he could have acted alone to perpetrate an attack of this magnitude. After decades of U.S. politically pragmatic foreign policy, the true perpetrators of this attack will probably never be known since the U.S. long ago quietly closed its investigation. Informants and witnesses die, memories fade, and evidence deteriorates or disappears.

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Is the real culprit for all terrorism capitalism and the corruption and violence it fosters? Is political expediency for commerce, or business as usual, the only brand of American justice? Is this a case of deflected culpability for U.S. military attacks such as the July 3, 1988, USS Vincennes warship missile shoot down of Iran Air flight 655, which killed 290 civilians in Iranian airspace? Or were the CIA agents aboard the targets and our loved ones merely collateral damage?

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To date, the story of the terrorist attack against the U.S. on December 21, 1988, is incomplete and in many ways inaccurate. The Foundation will explore our history more fully, via thematic timelines, to ensure the attack and its victims do not become a footnote that the memory of time erases. Our Community Forum will, for the first time, digitally connect the entire global Pan Am 103 Lockerbie community.

Faces of Bombing of Pan Am 103 Victims

No one dies unless they are forgotten. The Living Memorial feature honors and immortalizes each of the 270 victims by allowing their loved ones to perpetually upload photos, audios, videos, tributes and other tokens of memory.

The Legacy Story Project feature will give voice and allow each person in our global community to tell their story, in their own words, and upload personal artifacts. Visitors will hear about the humanitarian and precedent-setting acts by local heroes, first responders and the hundreds of victims’ loved ones, who became accidental activists, and of their ongoing, ardent and unceasing quest for truth and justice. Together, with your participation and input, this digital platform can grow to become the most extensive Pan Am 103 Lockerbie Historical Archive collection in existence.

We are the proof that good endures.

Victoria Cummock Signature

M. Victoria Cummock
Widow of Passenger John B. Cummock
Founder and CEO