Remembering Pan Am Flight 103: Katie Berrell

Katie Berrell, a senior at Syracuse University, is about the same age as her uncle, Steven Berrell, when he was killed on Pan Am Flight 103. Katie Berrell serves as a Remembrance Scholar, which serves to keep alive the memory of those who were killed on December 21, 1988.

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It’s important because while it is very much about the 270 people who died, the 35 students who are directly connected to our campus, I think the bigger message that’s important to share with others is that this is an act of terrorism. And it’s still happening. I mean, the day before our candlelight vigil to start the week was when the synagogue shooting happened. And I don’t even think there’s a better way to describe it than that—that while we’re having this week to recognize the loss from terrorism, a terrorist attack happens. And I think that really just like encapsulates why it’s important to have this week, because while it’s about the students and the people who died and mourning their loss and coping with that as a community, it’s also about acting forward in their memory and educating people about, you know, what’s going on in the world. This isn’t something that’s just happening far away from us; it’s not something that’s gone away 30 years later. It’s still happening. And I think that’s the really important message that comes out of it all.

I think about it every time I get on a plane, honestly. But, you know, there are some people that go up in the air and then they don’t come back. And that was definitely really hard to cope with. But, you know, if my uncle was still here, he’d be telling me not to sit there and worry about, you know, your plane being bombed, because you could sit there and worry about that all day. But I think the most important thing is to think about that I still have the time to live my life and do that for my uncle as well.

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