When Planes Fall From The Sky

Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the Lockerbie Air Disaster where Pan Am Flight #103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland. A total of 270 people died in the attack. There were 259 victims on the plane and 11 on the ground.

In the 20 years that have passed since I heard the news about the bombing, none of the stories about the aftermath of the crash have struck me as hard as the following clip from Wikipedia.

Five members of the Dixit family, including three year old Suruchi Rattan, were flying to Detroit from New Delhi. They were supposed to be on Flight 67, which had left Frankfurt earlier in the day, but one of the children had fallen ill with breathing difficulties, and the pilot had taken the unusual step of bringing the plane back to the gate to allow the family to disembark. The boy soon recovered, and the family was transferred to PA 103 instead.

Suruchi was wearing a bright red kurta and salwar for her journey — a knee length tunic and matching pants — and she became forever associated with a note left with flowers outside Lockerbie town hall:

“To the little girl in the red dress who lies here who made my flight from Frankfurt such fun. You didn’t deserve this. God Bless, Chas.”

God Bless all of the victims that died on that cold December morning in 1988.

The following is the poem I wrote in August of 1989. Take some time today to observe a moment of silence in honor of the victims and their families.

When Planes Fall From The Sky

The tears flow from my eyes, as I hear the awful news,
One man is in deep despair, while another man sues.
It happened on a cold windy day, they say it was a bomb,
I keep repeating in my mind, the twenty-third Psalm.

With all of our technology, how could we let this happen?
Was it a simple oversight, did one bomb get by, or ten?
How could a bomb slip by them, aren’t they paid to see?
And why are they so quick to say, “Hey, it wasn’t me!”

Of course I am talking of the bomb, on the Pan Am jet,
They have found the cause, inside a radio it was set.
I feel sorry for the victims, and the people of Lockerbie,
But thank the Lord it did not blow, over the open sea.

What will be done now, to correct this problem in the air?
Before another bomb blows up, and a plane begins to tear.
Is tigher security the answer, to this awful airline plight?
Should we all be strip searched, before each and every flight?

Whatever the answer may be, I hope it comes real fast,
Before another airline jet, becomes a victim of the past.
Every time I hear of this, I think of all who die,
It really makes me worry so, when planes fall from the sky.

The victims of Lockerbie, Scotland:

Joanne Flannigan, 10
Kathleen Mary Flannigan, 41
Thomas Brown Flannigan, 44
Dora Henrietta Henry, 56
Maurice Peter Henry, 63
Mary Lancaster, 81
Jean Aitken Murray, 82
John Somerville, 40
Lynsey Ann Somerville,10
Paul Somerville, 13
Rosalind Hanney Somerville, 40

The Crew of Flight #103:

Captain James Bruce MacQuarrie, 55, from Kensington, New Hampshire, USA
First Officer (co-pilot) Raymond Ronald Wagner, 52, from Pennington, New Jersey, USA
Flight engineer Jerry Don Avritt, 46, from Westminster, California, USA
Mary Geraldine Murphy, 51, Twickenham, UK
Milutin Velimirovich, 35, Hounslow, UK (US citizen)
Elisabeth Nichole Avoyne, 44, Croissy-sur-Seine, France, French
Noelle Lydie Berti, 41, Paris, France, French
Siv Ulla Engstrom, 51, Windsor, UK, Swedish
Stacie Denise Franklin, 20, San Diego, USA
Paul Isaac Garret, 41, Napa, USA
Elke Etha Kuhne, 43, Hannover, BRD, German
Maria Nieves Larracoechea, 39, Madrid, Spain
Lilibeth Tobila Macalolooy, 27, Kelsterbach, BRD, Phillipino
Jocelyn Reina, 26, Isleworth, UK, American
Myra Josephine Royal,30, Hanwell, UK, Dominican Republic
Irja Syhnove Skabo, 38, Oslo, Norway, Finnish

The Passengers of Flight #103:

Ahern, John Michael Gerard, 26, Rockville Center, New York. American
Aicher, Sarah Margaret, 29, London, England. American
Akerstrom, John David, 34, Medina, Ohio. American
Alexander, Ronald Ely, 46, New York City. Swiss
Ammerman, Thomas Joseph, 36, Old Tappan, New Jersey. American
Apfelbaum, Martin Lewis, 59, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. American
Asrelsky, Rachel M., 21, New York, NY, American
Atkinson, William Garretson III, 33, London, American
Atkinson, Judith Ellen, London, American
Avoyne, Elisabeth Nicole Marie, Crossy Sur Seine, France, French
Avritt, Jerry Don, Westminster, California, American
Bacciochi, Clare Louise (19), Warwickshire, UK, British
Bainbridge, Harry Michael, 34, Montrose, New York. American
Barclay, Stuart Murrav, 29, Farm Barnard, Vermont .American
Bell, Jean Mary, 44, Windsor, England. British
Benello, Julian MacBain, 25, Brookline, Massachusetts. American
Bennett, Lawrence RJV, 41, Chelsea, Michigan. American
Bergstrom, Philip, 22, Forest Lake, Minnesota. American.
Berkley, Alistair Davis, 29, London, England. British
Bernstein. Michael Stuart, 36, Bethesda, Maryland. American
Berrell, Steven Russell, 2O, Fargo, North Dakota. American.
Bhatia, Surinder Mohan, 51, Los Angeles, California , Indian
Bissett, Kenneth John, 21, Hartsdale, New York.,American
Boatman-Fuller, DianeAnne, 37, London, England. Ameriean
Boland, Stephen John, 20, Nashua, New Hampshire. American
Bouckley, Glen, 27, Liverpool, New York. British
Bouckley, Paula, 29, Liverpool, New York. American
Boulanger, Nicole Elise. 21, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. American
Boyer, Francis, 43, Toulosane, France. French
Bright, Nicholas, 32, Brookline, Massachusetts. American
Browner (Bier), Daniel Solomon, 23, Parod, Israel. Israeli
Brunner, Colleen Renee, 20, Hamburg, New York. ,American
Burman, Timothy Guy, 24, London, England. British
Buser, Michael Warren, 34, Ridgefieid Park, New Jersey, American
Buser, Warren Max, 62, Glen Rock, New Jersey, American
Butler, Steven Lee, 35, Denver, Colorado. American
Cadman, William Martin, 32, London, England. British
Caffarone, Fabiana, 28, London, England. Argentinian.
Caffarone, Hernan, 28, London, England. Argentinian
Canady, Valerie, 25, Morgantown, West Virginia. American
Capasso, Cregory, 21, Brooklyn, New York. American
Cardwell, Timothy Michael, 21, Cresco, Pennsylvania. Amcrican
Carlsson, Bernt Wilmar, 50, NeW York city. Swedish
Cawley, Richard Anthony, 43, New York City. American
Ciulla, Frank, 45, Park Ridge, New Jersey, American
Cohen, Theodora Eugenia, 20, Port Jervis, New York. American
Coker, Eric Michael, 20, Mendham, New Jersey, American
Coker, Jason Michael, 20, Mendham, New Jersey, American
Colasanti, Gary Leonard, 20, Melrose, Massachussets, American
Concannon, Bridget, 53, Banbury, England. Irish
Concannon, Sean, 16, Banbury, England. Irish
Concannon, Thomas, 51, Banbury, England. Irish
Corner, Tracey Jane, 17 , Millhouses, England. British
Cory, Scott, 20, Old Lyme Court, Connccticut. American
Coursey, Willis Larry, 40, San Antonio, Texas. American
Coyle, Patricia Mary, 20. Wallingford, Coneccticut. American
Cummock, John Binning, 38, Coral Gables, Florida. American
Curry, Joseph Patrick, 31, Fort Devens, Massachusetts. American
Daniels. William ,Allen, 40, Belle Mead, New Jersey. American
Dater, Gretchen Joyce, 20, Ramsey, New Jersey. American
Davis, Shannon, 19, Shelton, Connecticut. ,American
Della Ripa, Gabriel, 46, Floral Park, New York. Italian
Dimauro, Joyce Christine, 39, New York City. American
Dinardo, Gianfranca, 26, London, England. Italian
Dix, Peter Thomas Stanley, 35, London, England. Irish
Dixit, Om. 54, Fairborn, Ohio. Indian
Dixit, Shanti, 54, Fairborn, Ohio. Indian
Dornstein, David Scott, 25, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. American
Doyle, Michael Joseph, 30, Voorhees, New Jersey. American
Eggleston, Edgar Howard III, 24, Glens Falls, New York. American
Ergin, Turhan, 22, West Hartford, Connecticut. American
Fisher, Charles Thomas IV, 34, London, England. American
Flick, Clayton Lee, 25, Coventry, England. American
Flynn, John Patrick, 21, Montville, New Jersey. American
Fondiler, Arthur, 33, Wst Amonk, New York. American
Fortune, Robrt Gerard, 40, Jackson heights, New York, American
Freeman, Paul Matthew Stephen, 25 London, England. Canadian
Fuller, James Ralph, 50, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, America
Gabor, Ibolya Robertine 79, Budapest, Hungary. Hungarian
Gallagher, Amy Beth, 22, Quebec, Canada. American
Gannon, Matthew Kevin, 34, San Juan Capistrano, California. American
Gareczynnski, Kenneth Raymond, 37 North Brunswick, New Jersey, American
Gibson, Kenneth James, 20, Romulus, Michigan American
Giebler, William David, 29, London, England. American
Gordon, Olive Leonora, 9i, London, England. British
Gordon-Gorgaez, Linda Susan, 39, London, England. American
Gorgaez, Anne Madelene, 76, Newcastle, Pennsylvania, American
Gorgaez, Loretta Anne, 47, Newcastle, Pennsylvania, American
Gould, David, 45, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, American
Guevorgian, Andre Nikolai, 32, Sea Cliff, New York. French
Hall, Nieola Jane, 23, Sandton, South Africa, Australian
Halsch, Lorraine Frances, 31, Fairport, New York. American
Hartunian, Lynne Carol, 21, Schenectady, New York. American
Hawkins, Anthony Lacey, 57, Brooklyn, New York. British
Herbert, Pamela Elaine, 19, Battle Creek, Michigan, American
Hilbert, Rodney Peter. 40, Newton, Pennsvlvania. American
Hill, Alfred, 29, Sonthofen, West Germany. West German
Hollister, Katherine Augusta, 20, Rego Park, New York. American
Hudson, Josephine Lisa, 22, London, England. British
Hudson, Melina Kristina, 16, Albany, New York. American
Hudson, Sophie Ailette Miriam, 26, Paris, France. French
Hunt, Karen Lee, 20, Webster, New York. American (picture left)
Hurst, Roger Elwood, 38, Ringwood, New Jersey, American
Ivell, Elizabeth Sophie, 19, Robertsbridge, East Sussex, England. British
Jaafar, Khalid Nazir, 20, Dearborn, Michigan. Lebanese/American
Jeck, Robert van Houten, 57. Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, American
Jeffreys, Paul Avron, 36, Kingston-upon-Thames, England. British
Jeffreys, Rachel, 23, Kingston-upon-Thames, England. British
Jermyn, Kathleen Mary, 20, Staten Island, New York. American
Johnson, Beth Ann, 21, Greensburg, Pennsylvania. American
Johnson, Mary Alice Lincoln, 25, Wayland, Massachusetts. American
Johnson, Timothy Baron, 21, Neptune, New Jersey, American
Jones, Christopher Andrew, 20, Claverack, New York. American
Kelly, Julianne Frances, 20, Dedham, Massachusetts. American
Kingham, Jay Joseph. 44, Potomac, Maryland. American
Klein, Patricia Ann, 35, Trenton, New Jersey American
Kosmowski, Gregory, 40, MiIford, Michigan. American
Kulukundis, Minas Christopher, 38, London, England British
LaRiviere, Ronald Albert, 33, Alexandria, Virginia. American
Leckburg, Robert Milton, 30, Piscataway, New Jersey, American
Leyrer, William Chase, 46, Bay Shore, New York. American
Lincoln, Wendy Anne, 23, North Adams. Massachusetts American
Lowenstein, Alexander Silas, 21, Morristown, New Jersey, American
Ludlow, Lloyd David, 41, Macksville, Kansas, American
Lurbke, Maria Theresia, 25, Balve Beckum, West Germany, West German
McAllister, William John, 26, Sunbury-on-Thames, England, British
McCarthy, Daniel Emmet, 31, Brooklyn, New York, American
McCollum, Robert Eugene, 61, Wayne, Pennsylvania, American
McKee, Charles Dennis, 40, Arlington, Virginia , American
McLaughlin, Bernard Joseph. 30, Bristol, England, American
Mack, William Edward, 30, New York City American
Malicote, Douglas Eugene, 22, Lebanon, Ohio. American
Malicote, Wendy Gay, 21, Lebanon, Ohio. American
Marek, Elizabeth Lillian, 30, New York City. American
Marengo, Louis Anthony, 33, Rochester, Michigan. American (picture left)
Martin, Noel George, 27, Clapton, England. American
Maslowski, Diane Slaric, 30 , New York City. American
Melber, Jane Susan. 27, Middlesex, England. American
Merrill, John, 35, Hertfordshire, England. British
Miazga, Suzanne Marie, 22 , Marcy, New York. American
Miller, Joseph Kenneth, 53, Woodmere, New York. , American
Mitchell, Jewel Courtney, 39, Brooklvn, New York. Guyanese
Monetti, Richard Paul, 20, Cherry Hill, New Jersey. American
Morgan, Jane Ann, 37, London, England. American
Morson, Eva Ingeborg, 48, New York Citv. German
Mosey, Helga Rachael, 19, Warley, England. British
Mulroy, Ingrid Elizabcth, 25, Lund, Sweden. Swedish
Mulroy, John, 59, East Northport, New York. Irish
Mulroy, Sean Kevin, 25, Lund, Sweden. American
Noonan, Karen Elizabeth, 20 , Potomac, Maryland. American
O’Connor, Daniel Emmett, 31, Boston, Massachusctts. American
O’Neil, M. Denice, 21 Bronx, New York. American
Otenasek, Anne Lindsey, 21, Baltimore, Maryland. ,American
Owen, Bryony Elise, 1, Bristol, England. British
Owen, Gwyneth Yvonne Margaret 29, Bristol, England. British
Owens, Laura Abigail. 8, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, American
Owens, Martha, 44, Cherry Hill, New Jersey. American
Owens, Robert Plack, 45, Cherry Hill, New Jersey . American
Owens, Sarah Rebecca, 14, Cherry Hill, New Jersey . American
Pagnucco, Robert Italo, 51, South Salem, New York. American
Papadopoulos, Christos Michael, 45, Lawrence, New York. Greek/ American
Peirce, Peter Raymond, 40, Perrysburg, Ohio. American
Pescatore, Michael. 33, Solon, Ohio. American
Philipps, Sarah Suzanue Buchanan, 20, Newtonville, Massachusetts. American
Phillips, Frederick Sandford, 27, Little Rock, Arkansas. American
Pitt, James Andrew Campbell, 24, South Hadley, Massachusetts. American
Platt, David, 33, Staten Island, New York. ,American
Porter, Walter Leonard, 35, Brooklyn, New York. ,American
Posen, Pamela Lynn, 20, Harrison, New York. American
Pugh, William, 56, Margate, New Jersey. American
Quiguvan, Crisostomo Estrella, 43, London, England. Filipino
Ramses, Rajesh Tarsis Priskcl, 35, Leicester, England. Indian
Rattan, Anmol, 2, Warren. Michigan. American (Indian)
Rattan, Garima, 29, Warren, Michigan.,American(Indian)
Rattan, Suruchi, 3, Warren, Michigan. American (Indian) (“The little girl in the red dress…”)
Reeves, Anita Lynn, 24, Laurel, Maryland. American
Rein, Mark Alan, 44 , New York City. American
Rencevicz, Diane Marie, 21, Burlington, New Jersey, American
Rogers, Louise Ann, 20, Olney, Maryland. American
Roller, Edina, 5, Hungary. Hungarian
Roller, Janos Gabor, 29, Hungary. Hungarian
Roller, Zsuzsanna, 27, Hungary, Hungarian
Root, Hanne Maria, 26, Toronto, Canada. Canadian
Rosen, Saul Mark, 35, Morris Plains, New Jersey . American
Rosenthal, Andrea Victoria, 20, New York Citv. American
Rosenthal, Daniel Peter, 20, Staten Island, New York. .American
Rubin, Arnaud David, 28, Waterloo, Belgium. Belgian
Saraceni, Elyse Jeanne, 20, East London, England. American
Saunders, Scott Christopher, 21, Macungie, Pennsylvania. American
Saunders, Theresa Elizabeth, 28, Sunbury-on-Thames, England. British
Schauble, Johanness Otto, 41, Kappellenweg, West Germany , West German
Schlageter, Robert Thomas, 20, Warwick. Rhode Island. American
Schultz., Thomas Britton, 20, Ridgefield, Conneccticut. American
Scott, Sally Elizabeth, 22, Huntington, New York. British
Shapiro, Amy Elizabeth, 21, Stamford, Conneccticut. American
Shastri, Mridula, 24, Oxford, England. Indian
Sheanshang, Joan, 46, New York City. American
Sigal, Irving Stanley, 35, Pennington, New Jersey . American
Simpson, Martin Bernard Christopher, 52, Brooklyn, New York. South African
Smith, Cynthia Joan, 21, Milton, Massachusctts. American
Smith. Ingrid Anita, 31, Berkshire, England. British
Smith, James Alvin, 55, New York Citv. American
Smith, Mary Edna, 3l, Kalamazoo, Michigan. American
Stevenson, Geraldine Anne, 37, Esher, England. British
Stevenson, Hannah Louise, 10, Esher, England. British
Stevenson, John Charles. 38, Esher, England. British
Stevenson, Rachael. 8, Esher, England. British
Stinnett, Charlotte Ann, 36, New York City. American
Stinnett, Michael Gary, 26, Duncanville, Texas. American
Stinnett, Stacey Leanny, 9, Duncanville, Texas. American
Stow, James Ralph, 49, York City. American
Stratis, Elia G., 43, Montvale, New Jersey . American
Swan, Anthony Selwyn, 29, Brooklyn, New York. Trinidadian
Swire, Flora Margaret, 24, London, England. British
Tager, Marc Alex, 22, London, England. British
Tanaka, Hidekazu, 26, London, England. Japanese
Teran, Andrew Alexander, 20, New Haven, Conneccticut. British/ Bolivian
Thomas, Arva Anthony, 17, Detroit, Michigan. American
Thomas, Jonathan Ryan, 2 months, Southfield, Michigan. American
Thomas, Lawanda, 21, Southfield, Michigan. American
Tobin, Marc; Lawrence,21, North Hempstead, New York. American
Trimmer-Smith, David William, 51, New York City. British
Tsairis, Alexia Kathryn, 20, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, American
Valentino, Barry Joseph, 28, San Francisco, California. American
Van Tienhoven, ThomasS Floro, 45, Buenos Aires Argcntina, American
Veidany, Asaad Eidi, 46, Great Neck, Néw York. Iranian
Vrenios, Nicholas Andreas, 20, Washiligton, D C. American
Vulcu, Peter, 21, Alliance, Ohio. Romanian
Waido, Janina Jozefa, 61, Chicago, Illinois. Polish
Walker, Thomas Edwin, 47, Quincy, Massucilusctts. American
Weedon, Kesha, 20, Bronx, New York. American
Weston, Jerome Lee, 45, Baldwin, New York. American
White, Jonathan, 33, North Hollywood, California. American
Williams, Bonnie Leigh, 21, Crown Point, New York. American
Williams, Brittany Leigh, 2 months, Crown Point, New York American
Williams, Eric Jon, 24, Crown Point, New York. American
Williams, Ceorge Waterson, 34, Joppa, Maryland. American
Williams, Stephanie Leigh, 1. Crown Point, New York. American
Wolfe, Miriam Luby, 20, Severna Park. Maryland. American
Woods, Chelsea Marie, 10 months, Willingboro, New Jersey. American
Woods, Dedera Lynn, 27, Willingboro, New Jersey. American
Woods, Joe Nathan, 28, Willingboro, New Jersey . American
Woods, Joe Nathan, Jr., 2, Willingboro, New Jersey . American
Wright, Andrew Christopher Gillies, 24, Surrey, England. British
Zwynenburg, Mark James, 29, West Nyack, New York. American

One thought on “When Planes Fall From The Sky

  1. I am thinking of all the families, friends & loved ones who lost someone at LOCKABIE.
    I lost someone who I had meet briefly John Ahern, we’d only met a few times but he was a shining star, that can or will be replaced. He taught my son how to shoot hoops at his London Flat & also how to spin a basket ball on one finger like the pros do in USA.
    For his family Thank you for rasing a great man and no words I say will heal your pain or loss, Our lives have been blessed by knowing him.
    With fond memorys lots laughter of your Son brother Uncle Grandchild friend.
    Shirley Bradfield UK

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