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Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Delivers Remarks at Annual Pan Am Flight 103 Memorial Service


Arlington, VA
United States

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Thank you for that kind welcome.  It is an honor to be here today.  I want to thank the Families of the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103 for again hosting this important and moving ceremony.  Your fidelity and strength are indeed the most fitting memorial to the loved ones you lost so many years ago.  I also want to acknowledge Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security [Mary] McCord and TSA Administrator [Peter] Neffenger for their steadfast partnership in keeping our country safe.  And i want to thank the many current and former FBI agents, federal prosecutors, victim witness personnel and other officials who have devoted their careers to the Lockerbie investigation, and who have made the pursuit of truth and justice their life’s work. 

Nearly three decades ago, the world was shaken by a devastating act of violence in the air above Lockerbie, Scotland.  Two hundred and seventy lives were stolen from us by the most cowardly of acts – an attack on innocents.  They were our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters, our husbands and wives, our colleagues and friends.  they included two people whose loss is still deeply felt by the justice department family: Michael Bernstein, an attorney in the Criminal Division; and Lynne Hartunian, whose brother rick is now the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York.  Today, as we have done for so many years, we reflect upon the beautiful lives that were cut far too short. 

That act of terror was designed to force suffering on the innocent and the good-hearted.  But in the face of cowardice and cruelty – in the face of an attack that shocked the world – what we remember is the strength of our communities as we faced this enormous challenge.  We remember the community of loved ones who came together to grieve and carry on the memories of those lost.  We remember the community in Lockerbie, which opened its shops 24 hours a day to provide coffee, sandwiches, and warm consolation.  And of course, we remember the community of advocates who have refused to let this tragedy be forgotten, and who will continue that fight until justice is delivered.  Their efforts underscored what we already knew to be true: we are stronger when we stand together against injustice, and we are more resilient when we stand side by side in defense of our shared humanity.    

I know that law enforcement in both the United States and Scotland remain as committed as ever to ensuring justice for the innocent victims of the Lockerbie bombing, meeting regularly to discuss developments in the case.  As you know, thanks in no small part to the tireless efforts of Ken Dornstein and others, we have made significant advances in our investigation last year.  The United States and Scotland will continue working closely together to advance the case and guarantee that those responsible for this heinous terrorist attack are held accountable.  And we will continue to pursue any individuals or groups who seek to sow terror in our hearts and division in our communities.  By working to prevent and combat terrorism in all of its forms, we are dedicated to ensuring that no more innocent lives will be lost.  In all of the work that we do, the memories of your loved ones serve as a constant reminder that we must be vigilant, we must be strong, and we must be successful in this urgent work. 

For 28 years, this community has struggled for answers and yearned for justice.  And I want you to know that you have a steadfast and constant ally in the U.S. Department of Justice.  We will not rest until those who are responsible for this inhumane and vicious act are held accountable for their crimes.  And we will honor the memory of your loved ones through our work – today, and every day.

Thank you.

Updated December 21, 2016