For most Americans, the words “Lockerbie, Scotland” evoke one image: the iconic photograph of the battered nose cone of a Pan Am jumbo jet surrounded by bodies, investigators, and debris on a lonely hillside. For members of the Syracuse University community, the words represent the loss of 35 students, who died returning from a semester abroad when their jet exploded over Lockerbie. The terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 on December 21, 1988, killed all 259 people aboard, plus 11 Lockerbie residents, in a tragedy that remained the deadliest terror attack on US citizens until 9/11. The event forever linked the US with Lockerbie, whose residents provided unsparing help and sympathy to victims’ families.
Greatly touched by the warmth and generosity of Lockerbie’s inhabitants, two Syracuse University professors and a group of student writers and photographers set out to expand the world’s understanding of the small town—its history and nature, and the lives of its residents—redefining Lockerbie beyond the events of one fateful day. On many trips over 12 years, photography professor Lawrence Mason, Jr., and magazine professor Melissa Chessher brought more than 50 students to capture the town in images and words.
Through stunning photographs and personal vignettes, Looking for Lockerbie introduces to the world some of Lockerbie’s most engaging personalities, events, and places: its last milk delivery man, its boy racers, and a local model; a Burns supper and the town’s annual gala; its cheese factory, its high school, one of the area’s few remaining rural schools, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, and many of the castles, ancient stone sites, and Roman landmarks that make this borderland town historically significant. The book celebrates the connection between a “wee” Scottish town and an American university, forged from the grief and sorrow arising from a single horrific air disaster.
Lawrence Mason Jr. is professor of visual and interactive communications in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. His photographs have appeared in publications such as the New York Times and U.S. News and World Report.
Associate professor Melissa Chessher is a freelance writer and former magazine editor. She serves as chairperson of the Magazine Department and director of the graduate program in magazine, newspaper, and online journalism at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
Distributed for Syracuse University
12 x 8, 244 pages, 232 color illustrations