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


Washington, DC
United States

Good afternoon. It is an honor to take part, once again, in this important annual ceremony. And it’s a privilege to join with so many friends and colleagues – including FBI Director Mueller, Deputy National Security Advisor McDonough, and Assistant Attorney General of the National Security Division Monaco – as we pay tribute to the 270 innocent people who were taken from us, 24 years ago today, by a senseless act of terrorism in the skies above Lockerbie, Scotland.

I’d like to thank the Families of the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103 for bringing us together this afternoon. For nearly two and a half decades, your remarkable strength – and the spirit of unity that, year after year, calls you back to this hallowed place – has been a source of inspiration for us all. The example of resilience you’ve provided – and the unyielding resolve you’ve shown – have fueled our efforts to achieve justice for the victims of this unspeakable tragedy. And your work continues to ensure that none of us will ever forget the passengers, crew members, and bystanders on the ground whose lives were stolen – or shattered – on the 21st of December, 1988.

Although no speech or ceremony can erase the pain that you’ve carried with you since that terrible night – by gathering to exchange stories, to share memories, and to lift up the legacies of those we’ve come to remember – I am confident that this community can continue to heal, to grow, and to move into a brighter future.  And I pledge that our nation and its allies will continue to seek justice.

From Lockerbie to lower Manhattan – at home and around the world – at every level of today’s Justice Department, my colleagues and I are committed to standing with victims of terrorism and their families, wherever they are found. We’re determined to move aggressively to prevent and combat terrorism in all its forms – and to hold accountable those who threaten innocent civilians and seek to undermine our way of life. Above all, we’re dedicated to upholding the highest ideals of our justice system – while using every appropriate tool and resource to protect the American people.

Particularly in recent years – thanks to many of the leaders gathered here today – I’m proud that we have made significant, and in many cases historic, progress in taking these efforts to a new level. I’m encouraged by all that we’ve done – alongside allies from around the world –in order to identify and disrupt potentially deadly terrorist plots. But I also recognize – as you do – that this work is never complete.

That’s why, as we come together this afternoon – to honor and extend the legacies of those no longer with us – we must also recommit ourselves to the urgent task of preventing more of our citizens from being victimized. We must never hesitate in our aggressive pursuit of those who carry out such despicable and cowardly acts. We must never falter in our determination to eradicate the threats our people face. And – in this case and all others – we must never tire, never waver, and never rest – until justice has been done.

May God continue to bless our efforts. May God bless the families and friends gathered here today. And may God bless the United States of America. Thank you.

Updated August 18, 2015