Pan Am 103


A remembrance

On December 21, 1988, a Boeing 747 traveling to New York crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland. This was Pan Am flight 103.

At the time I was attending Syracuse University. As the news continued to come in about this event, a list of students from SU was released. I knew one of the people on the plane.

Harry Chapin sang about a person’s “Story of a Life”. Numerous others have expressed similar thoughts… I once wrote in an old poem called “Forever and Always” that “…we are all characters and critics of the same play…”. So what to say about this person I knew on flight 103? Would we have met again on campus had the plane not been attacked? I don’t know. Perhaps just a passing mention in my story never to be visited again, perhaps a full chapter, and perhaps more. Or, for those believing in fate and destiny and purpose, exactly what it was… an event with a small tie to my life.

What I do know is that I wrote a poem at the time, for whatever emotions and thoughts I had. I don't think I could tell you today what I was truly feeling or thinking. I sent it off and had it published in an anthology.

As the United States reflects today, I find it somewhat appropriate to reprint my poem here for a different anniversary. Nothing has been changed from the original version written in 1989 and published in 1990.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Pan Am 103

Last night I heard a star fell from the sky –

A star fell from above

And I’m left alone, simply wondering why

A star fell carrying someone I love

And I’ll never fill this emptiness in my heart

But I find my mind filled with memories of you

And at the very least that’s a start –

Last night I heard a star fell from the sky

And I’m left alone simply wondering why

A star fell from above –

A star carrying someone I love.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This effort was a true From the Backpack post at the In My Backpack web site.

The poem above first appeared in print in the American Collegiate Poets Spring Concours 1990. Published by International Publications, Los Angeles, California. All poets included in this collection granted one-time publication rights, retaining title and other rights to the work.

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