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Picture ‘encapsulated’ how SU felt after Pan Am 103 bombing

David Grunfeld
S.I. Newhouse School
A photograph of a crying cheerleader taken at an SU basketball game on the night of the Pan Am bombing.

Friends and families of the Syracuse University students killed in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing 29 years ago attended a remembrance ceremony on campus Thursday. Many can still remember where they were when the event took place.

Credit Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News
WRVO News File Photo
Loved ones of the victims gather at the Remembrance Wall at SU.

Crouse chimes sounded 35 times honoring the SU students killed in the attack.

SU professor Lawrence Mason Jr. was also working as a photographer for United Press International back in 1988. He remembers wrapping Christmas presents when he received a phone call from his boss who told him about the bombing. His boss asked Mason to take pictures of a memorial service on campus that night.

“I just told him, I can’t shoot the memorial service," Mason said. "If I’m there, I should be there grieving. I don’t believe I should be there with a camera.”

Mason and a partner, David Grunfeld, went to an SU basketball game and tried to take a picture that captured the feeling on campus. Grunfeld shot the picture and Mason transmitted it to the world. 

“A picture of a crying cheerleader, one of our cheerleaders," Mason said. "It ran all over the world. It encapsulated just what everybody was feeling that night at the basketball game. I remember the dome being quiet. There was still a lot of people there but I just don’t think they knew what to do with themselves.”

Mason said as the community remembers SU's championships, they will also always remember the students they lost over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Dean of Hendricks Chapel Brian Konkol, who is in his first year at SU, said talking to the Syracuse community about the bombing has been a moving experience. 

"I was a young man growing up in central Wisconsin when Pan Am 103 first happened and I remember it vividly," Konkol said. "Years later, to now be here at Syracuse University and to see this lived out is really profound. I'm proud that this university does this."

A service was also held at the Pan Am memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.