Thursday 19 December 2013

In Memory of Jane

I usually do not post the same thing on my blog as on this one, but I think the administrator will make an exception today. 

Twenty-five years ago, I lost a friend in Lockerbie.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a person in their early 30s, who claimed he never heard of this terrorist attack. Another woman I was talking to, in her late twenties, had never heard of Lockerbie.

But, I lost a friend, a beautiful, young, woman musician with a big smile, a peaceful heart, and load of talent in that terrorist attack. 270 died because of that action of terrorism.

At that time, on December 21, 1988, I was in America for parties celebrating my baby son and showing him off to relatives. My husband at the time and I were watching international news on the television when the pictures of the devastated village and the wreckage were being broadcast. We had just flown out of England for this visit a week before, making the entire event even more poignant. We mentioned to each other that we hoped no one we knew was on the plane.

It was not until last January, 1989, that a priest friend of mine told me of my friend's death. When I came back and the academic year started again, I tried to phone my friend many times. But, as she was a young person, I just assumed she was out and about.

At a surprise birthday party for my husband at the time, a small party of about 40 people, I mentioned to the priest that I could not get a hold of Jane. Then he said, "I thought you knew. Did you not know she went down in Lockerbie?"

That was the end of the birthday celebrations for me. Most of the guests had known and a month later, it was "old news". I talked awhile with the good priest, (who just happens to be a psychologist as well), as we discussed Jane, her life, her death.

One young voice stilled. She had been on her way to America for Christmas. I had known she was going, and we had agreed to meet up in the New Year. I thought she had left earlier than December 21st.

Jane had been "almost engaged" with a nice young man. I felt for him.

What is hard for me is that with the 25th anniversary coming up, there are so many people who do not know about Lockerbie.

But, then, they did not know Jane. May she rest in peace. She missed her 28th birthday.

Melber, Jane Susan, musician and teacher, 27 years, born 01.01.61, Middlesex, England, American, seat number 27H

There is a scholarship fund which was set up by her parents at Gettysburg College, from where Jane graduated before going to the Royal College of Music in London.

Jane S. Melber (1983) Memorial Scholarship Fund
Established by Theodore W. and Lucile M. Melber in memory of their daughter, to be awarded to worthy and promising students for the study of music in Great Britain.

What is even odd for me is that I have taken that trip from Malta to Frankfurt this past November. That was the way the bomber was able to kill so many people in a more relaxed time of flying. Frankfurt is so big today, I wonder at the ability to stop further attempts.

May we always be ready for death.

The only man ever convicted for the bombing was a Libyan intelligence officer, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was found to have placed a suitcase containing the bomb on a flight from Malta to Frankfurt, from where it was transferred to a flight to London’s Heathrow, before detonating on Flight 103 a little more than half an hour after the Pan Am plane took off for New York.

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