Grow­ing up in the shadow of atroc­ity

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - STANDARD VIEW -

Dum­friesshire MSP Oliver Mun­dell was born al­most ex­actly a year af­ter ter­ror­ism rained wreck­age, avi­a­tion fuel and death over Locker­bie.

But he has grown up in the shadow of the atroc­ity. Dad David has been an am­bas­sador for the re­gion over the decades at the air dis­as­ter com­mem­o­ra­tions in Scot­land and the USA.

And this year Oliver will be tak­ing part in the 30th an­niver­sary trib­utes on both sides of the At­lantic.

As well as rais­ing aware­ness of the Cy­cle to Syra­cuse in the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment, Oliver will join the five core cy­clists for part of their me­mo­rial tour from Ar­ling­ton Na­tional Ceme­tery in Wash­ing­ton DC to the univer­sity.

Brian Asher, Colin Dor­rance, Paul Rae, David Walpole and David Whal­ley will cy­cle the 600 miles over seven days from Oc­to­ber 26 to Novem­ber 1.

Twenty-eight-year-old Oliver will ride the fi­nal miles to Syra­cuse on a tan­dem with Locker­bie and Dis­trict Com­mu­nity Coun­cil’s Jan Andrews.

He told Par­lia­ment that for the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies and town­folk caught up in the events and af­ter­math, there is“be­fore Locker­bie”and“af­ter Locker­bie”but he has only ever known“one Locker­bie.”

He said:“I could not be more proud of my as­so­ci­a­tion with the town. Locker­bie more than any­thing has heart. There is a quiet de­ter­mi­na­tion to move for­ward and make the best of things.

“It is a friendly, open and wel­com­ing place – partly be­cause it just is and partly be­cause it has had to be.

“Ev­ery­one thinks they know Locker­bie but un­til a per­son has stood on the High Street and watched life go on as nor­mal, al­most as if noth­ing has hap­pened, it is im­pos­si­ble to un­der­stand the town’s achieve­ment.

“It is by let­ting life go on that we en­sure that those who sought to sow divi­sion and fear have not pre­vailed.”

He added:“The same com­plex­ity and the same grit and de­ter­mi­na­tion can be found in Amer­ica and be­yond, where in­di­vid­u­als, fam­i­lies and in­sti­tu­tions have kept the mem­ory alive while also fo­cus­ing on the fu­ture.

“For many peo­ple on the two sides of the At­lantic, the bond and con­nec­tions that have been formed are per­haps the only uni­ver­sally pos­i­tive thing to have come from the dis­as­ter.”

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