Page last updated at 00:09 GMT, Friday, 24 October 2008 01:09 UK

US service for Lockerbie victims

Dark Elegy sculptures
The "Dark Elegy" sculptures are on display at the university campus

The 270 victims of the Lockerbie bombing will be remembered at a ceremony at a US university almost 20 years on from the tragedy.

Syracuse University in New York lost 35 students when the plane was blown up over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988.

Representatives from the Scottish town will attend the service, where a rose will be laid for each of the students.

The campus, which runs a scholarship for Lockerbie pupils, also has a series of sculptures to mark the anniversary.

The 35 students were flying home for Christmas after taking part in a study-abroad programme when Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie.

An exhibition of selected pieces from the "Dark Elegy" by Suse Lownenstein, whose son Alexander died in the disaster, captures the despair of the victims' families on hearing of their deaths.

A panel discussion and a remembrance dinner are also among the events planned to honour the victims.

'Incomprehensible act'

Kelly Rodoski, chair of the 20th Anniversary Commemoration Committee, said the disaster changed the landscape of the university forever.

She said: "This was the kind of event that occurred elsewhere, not in our part of the world and not on our campus.

"The fact that 35 young men and women in the prime of their lives, brimming with intellectual curiosity and spirit of adventure, were taken in a senseless act of violence was, and remains today, incomprehensible.

"To mark the 20th anniversary, we have planned exhibits and events that we believe will be meaningful and reflective for those who were touched by this tragedy, and to be educational for our current students, who were young children or not yet born in 1988."

Community groups in Lockerbie said they were planning a "low key" approach to the 20th anniversary of its air disaster.

The anniversary falls on a Sunday this year and an ecumenical service is planned by local churches.

All commemoration sites around the town will have extended opening hours and a symbolic quilt has been commissioned.

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