As someone who grew up in Lockerbie, attended Lockerbie Academy and has the privilege of representing my home town in Parliament, it is an honour to be here today to represent both my community and my country, to demonstrate our solidarity with you on a day of remembrance, a day of reflection and a day too for looking forward.
I want to you know that you are in the thoughts and prayers of people in and around Lockerbie and across the United kingdom as church services are going on simultaneously with this event in Dryfesdale Parish Church in Lockerbie and Westminster Abbey.
And although, compared to this balmy afternoon here at Arlington, it is cold and wet back in Scotland today, the warmth of our feeling towards everyone here in the United States, affected by the events of 21 December 1988, remains as strong as it was in those first days and weeks, when many present today visited the Lockerbie area for the first time.
The Lockerbie Air Disaster remains the largest ever loss of life in a single event in the United Kingdom. Like everybody from the Lockerbie area, I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news and the emotions I felt as the details unfolded. That is, however, nothing to what you and families back in the UK and elsewhere in the world had to bear. To lose a loved one in an unexpected fatality, particularly a young person, is heartbreaking. To do so, under an unprecedented global media spotlight, which has lasted all of these 25 years is beyond compare. And for that you, the townspeople of Lockerbie and everyone else caught up in these events, have our utmost admiration and respect.
Many people in and around Lockerbie, never have and never will speak openly of these events, although they have been deeply affected by them and the loss of the anonymity they brought for our small town. On behalf of them and everyone else in and around Lockerbie and people across the United Kingdom, I offer you our continuing sympathy for your loss, our gratitude for the friendships forged and the bonds strengthened, and our determination to continue to support you in the years ahead.