LONDON – Bagpipes played and wreaths were laid in Scotland's town of Lockerbie Saturday, as the families of those who died in the deadly airliner bombing over the town 25 years ago gathered to remember the victims.
Pan Am 103, which was bound for New York, exploded over the southern Scottish town less than an hour after takeoff from London on the evening of Dec. 21, 1988, killing 270 people either aboard the plane or on the ground. Many of the victims were American college students flying home for Christmas. The attack remains the deadliest terror attack to have taken place in Britain.
Only one man, former Libyan intelligence oficial Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, was convicted of the bombing. He was given a life sentence, but Scottish authorities released him on humanitarian grounds in 2009 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He died in Tripoli last year.
Relatives of some of the victims gathered at Lockerbie's Dryfesdale Cemetery, laying down wreaths and cards and pausing for a moment's reflection before a memorial stone.
Later Saturday, senior Scottish officials will attend a service at London's Westminster Abbey. In the United States, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and other officials will speak at a ceremony at Virginia's Arlington National Cemetery.