Don’t Think Vengeance, Minister Tells Lockerbie
Packed into a church, clustered among tombstones or seated in overflow halls, relatives and townspeople wept and prayed today for the dead of bombed Flight 103 as a minister urged them to turn their thoughts away from vengeance.
Lockerbie, the town where most of the Pan Am Boeing 747 crashed after being blown apart by a bomb, came to a standstill for the 40-minute service for the 259 people killed aboard the plane and the 11 villagers who died on the ground.
For the first time in two weeks, the skies were silent, empty of the helicopters that have led a massive search for wreckage and bodies over 150 square miles of countryside.
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, in black coat and hat, and her husband, Denis, joined the other mourners, who packed into Dryfesdale Parish Church, gathered among nearby tombstones or sat in crowded hallways.
The local people, dignitaries, relatives and Pan Am staff members flown in by the airline for the service sang hymns and prayed.
Investigators have concluded that a bomb blew up the plane, and suspicions have focused on Middle Eastern terrorists, prompting Thatcher to advise the United States publicly against “eye for an eye” retaliation.
The Right Rev. James Whyte, moderator of the Church of Scotland, echoed that advice.
“Justice, yes. Retaliation, no,” he told the congregation from the church’s marble pulpit.