Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The End of Innocence

2008 marks the 20-year anniversary of the terrorist bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland which killed 271 people in the plane and 11 on the ground in the village. Of those 271 on the plane, 35 were Syracuse University students studying abroad in London, UK headed home for Christmas.  I was an SU student in London that semester, I lived with four of those students, three of whom were on the plane. 
    My portrait of my friend and roommate Suzanne Miazga was inspired by a photo that her Mom gave me after she died. The photo of Suzanne holding the baby chick speaks volumes about her kind heart. Her major of study in London was social work, she had an internship at the hospital working with AIDS patients.
     20 years ago marked not only the end of innocence for those 35 SU students, but it also marked the end of innocence for those of us lucky enough to survive.


  1. Look at your incredible BLOG!

    This piece is so touching. Beautifully done.

  2. To this day, every time I think of the crash, where you were instead, and how it all left you afterwards... it still brings me to tears. Even as I write this comment, I am tearing up. It reminds me of how deeply I care for you, and of how beauty and strength arise from pain and suffering. Your life and your art are tributes to that, and Suzanne is proud of you, I am certain.

  3. Dear Elizabeth,

    I am writing this in the hope that you will read it. I am a member of the Scottish Ambulance Service, and I work in Lockerbie; Suzanne's body was found outside the door of Lockerbie Ambulance Station on the night of 21st Dec 1988 by my friend - and colleague - George White. There is a memorial to her at the station. I do my bit to maintain it
    I have a copy of the photograph you have used - loaned to me by George - because - with the 20th anniversary coming up - I am in the process of writing an essay (mainly for my family to read) about the bombing of PA 103; I don't want to see the incident consigned to history. For personal reasons, I have centred what I am writing on Suzanne - whose existence has been very real to me for many years. (I have daughters of my own - though they are now rather older than the 22yrs and 5mths Suzanne was when she died).
    Since the death of his wife in 2002, George and Anna Marie (Suzanne's mother) have become very close, and he is currently staying with her in Marcy. They will be attending the commemorative ceremony on 21st December at Arlington.
    Anna Marie and George have the final edit on whatever I write, and I have just e-mailed them with the draft of my first attempt at the first half. I have asked Anna Marie for anything more she can tell me about Suzanne - other than what I already know. I'm so astonished to come across a site run by you - her room-mate.
    I'd be truly grateful for anything else you could tell me about Suzanne Marie.
    To assure you that I am in earnest,(and provided that you are prepared to do so) please e-mail me at kevinmillhill@aol.com and I'd be more than delighted to send you a copy of the draft I have so far written.
    I still really cannot believe that I have found this site! There is a Divine Providence.
    Kevin Byrne


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