By Byron Tollefson SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – In 1988, Sandy Phillips was coming home from a semester in Europe. Sandy was a poet, a musician, and an athlete. He had been the Student Association’s Administrative Vice President, within just one year of being on campus. And he was adventurous- he once motorcycled across the United States just on a whim.
But on his flight home, tragedy occurred. Sandy, and 34 other other SU students, were killed on Pan Am Flight 103 from a terrorist’s bomb. 30 years later, Cole Massie, a senior at SU, is representing Sandy as a Remembrance Scholar. Cole has gone through the University’s archives several times and seen Sandy’s belongings. Exploring Sandy’s life, Cole says, has helped him grow.
“Looking through those it reminds me how precious life is,” Massie said. “And not to take it for granted. And Sandy was definitely not someone who took life for granted. I think if I can live my life in a way that resembles that…that’s a huge impact.”
Each Remembrance Scholar represents a victim from the tragedy. This is all part of Remembrance Week at SU. This year is the 30th anniversary of the tragedy. Scottish Secretary of State David Mundell was on campus today, and met with several Remembrance Scholars on the quad. Mundell said coming was an easy decision.
“It’s a very poignant moment…Remembrance Week,” Mundell said. “It’s respecting those thirty-five students from this University who never got to complete their journey home. We remember them.”
Remembrance Week has events every day to honor the victims. On Sunday, there was a candlelight vigil. On Wednesday, students tied ribbons around trees at the Orange Grove on the quad.
Lyle Michael is a graduate student, new to the University. He tied a ribbon around a tree today. He was born in 1988, the year of the tragedy.
“I learned about what happened 30 years ago,” Michael said. “And I was born in 1988 so it makes me look back on the year I was born. And these students lost their lives.”
Julia Trainor, like Cole, is also a Remembrance Scholar. She heard about Remembrance Week on her first visit to campus.
“It always stuck with me,” Trainor said. “I thought it was so impressive and important that the community always tried to remember these students.”
Trainor is representing Nicole Boulanger. She says Nicole’s mom called her a “triple-threat”, equally talented at acting, singing, and dancing. Nicole directed and choreographed an entire performance while she was in London.
“It’s an incredible honor to represent someone who gave so much to the campus as a whole,” Trainor said. “I think about her every day.”
Remembrance Week concludes this Friday with a rose-laying ceremony. It will be held at 2:03 PM, at the Remembrance Wall in front of the Hall of Languages.