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Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks at the Annual Pan Am Flight 103 Memorial Service


Washington, DC
United States

Thank you, Mr. [Frank] Duggan. It is an honor to stand with you, and a privilege to thank you for the work that you – and the other members of the Families of the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103 – have led in your search for healing, for answers, and for justice.

On behalf of my colleagues in government and law enforcement, please know that – in this search – you are not alone. Today, along with Deputy National Security Advisor, John Brennan; FBI Director, Robert Mueller; Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s National Security Division, Lisa Monaco; and so many other dedicated leaders – I am proud to reaffirm our ongoing commitment to ensuring justice for the 270 innocent victims whose lives were violently cut short, exactly 23 years ago, and for the family members and friends whose lives were forever changed on that tragic day. I also would like to recognize Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, who has joined in this commemoration, and who shares our commitment to identifying and holding accountable those responsible for this devastating terrorist attack.

None of us will ever forget that terrible moment, when so many lives were stolen – and others shattered – by a shameful and senseless act of cowardice. The losses that resulted – in the air, and on the ground – not only shook the families of the passengers, crewmembers, and innocent bystanders in Lockerbie, Scotland, who were killed on December 21st, 1988. They also shocked the world, and had a dramatic and far-reaching impact on international affairs – creating a new global community of mourners, supporters, and advocates.

For more than two decades, this community has been bound together by a shared grief, as well as a common resolve. And each year, on this day, you have signaled your determination to carry the memories of your loved ones forward, and to keep the stories – not only of how they died, but also of how they lived – alive for future generations. Here today, on this nation’s most hallowed ground, we remember and pay tribute to each of them. And, this year, we also honor the contributions of those who have sought justice on their behalf, including my colleague Brian Murtagh, the prosecutor who – for more than two decades – has led the fight to bring those responsible for this horrific crime to justice.

Throughout his career, Brian has demonstrated a deep commitment to integrity, to the highest ideals of our nation’s justice system, and to the aggressive pursuit of terrorist threats. His leadership, and his unparalleled dedication to this investigation, have been an inspiration to all of us. In the months ahead, Brian’s example and enduring contributions will continue to advance this work. And, let me assure you today: this work will remain a priority.

As we pledge ourselves to this critical effort – and reflect on the lives of those no longer with us – let us draw on the strength that has guided this community through the past 23 years. Let us summon the spirit of unity that has allowed this nation – and our international partners – to weather countless storms. And let us do everything in our power to ensure that – in our own time, in the lives of our children, and in the work of future generations – the stories, the memories, and the legacies of those we lost will never be forgotten.

Thank you.

Updated August 18, 2015