The Lockerbie Cairn, through its 270 blocks of red Scottish sandstone, memorializes the 270 lives lost in the terrorist attack on the United States when Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed Dec. 21, 1988, over Lockerbie, Scotland. It is a gift of the people of Scotland to the people of the United States, financed entirely through private donations. The ill-fated flight was enroute from Frankfurt, Germany, to New York via London's Heathrow Airport. Twenty-seven minutes after leaving London, at 7:02 p.m. the plane exploded, raining fragments on the city of Lockerbie, including an entire wing and engines. Eleven of the 270 dead were on the ground. The passengers and crew included people from 22 countries. Among them were 189 Americans, including 15 active duty military and 10 veterans.
Senate Joint Resolution 129 designating Arlington National Cemetery as the site of the Cairn was unanimously passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in November 1993. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Dec. 21, 1993, the fifth anniversary of the disaster, and the cairn was dedicated on Nov. 3, 1995.
A cairn, the traditional Scottish monument honoring the dead, can be an informal heap of stones or may take a more orderly construction. In this instance, the 270 stones fit together to form a circular tower eight feet wide at the base and tapering to a height of eleven feet.
The blocks of standstone come from Corsehill Quarry of Annan, Scotland, about eight miles southeast of Lockerbie and in the flight path of Flight 103. Corsehill Quarry, operating since 1820, has acquired a world-wide reputation for producing sandstone of superb quality. Stones from this quarry are used in many buildings in the United States, most notably, the base of the Statue of Liberty.
The following words are engraved on the base:
On 21 December 1988, a terrorist bomb destroyed
Pan American Airlines Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland,
killing all on board and 11 on the ground.
The 270 Scottish stones which compose this memorial cairn
commemorate those who lost their lives in
this attack against America.
A bronze plaque on the side of the cairn reads:
In Remembrance Of
The Two Hundred Seventy People Killed In The Terrorist Bombing Of Pan
Flight 103 Over Lockerbie, Scotland 21 December 1988
Presented By The Lockerbie Air Disaster Trust
To The United States Of America
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