Growing up in the shadow of atrocity
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.”