Holder looks back on ‘cowardly’ Lockerbie airplane bombing

Attorney General Eric Holder commemorated the deaths of 270 people killed in an airplane bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Saturday.

Services were held in the U.S. and Britain to mark the 25th anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103.

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“Although a quarter century has passed since the world was shaken – and so many lives were devastated – by a heinous and cowardly act of terror, no amount of distance or time can ease the pain, or erase the loss, that was inflicted on that day,” Holder told a crowd at Arlington National Cemetery, according to prepared remarks.

The New York-bound Pan Am flight exploded less than an hour after it took off from London, England, on Dec. 21, 1988.

The explosion killed all 259 people onboard and falling wreckage killed an additional 11 residents in the Scotland town below. Many of those onboard were students heading home for the holidays.

“Some of the victims were traveling to the United States for the very first time. Some were enjoying quiet evenings with their families,” Holder said. “Some were on their way to visit friends and relatives. Some were simply trying to come home."

“And although their respective journeys, and their individual lives, were cut tragically short – all continue to be dearly loved, and deeply missed, by everyone who knew them – and especially by those who come together on this patch of hallowed ground each year to pay tribute to the lives that were stolen – and to heal those that were irreparably changed.”

Similar memorials attended by politicians, officials and family members of those killed in the explosion were held in Lockerbie and Westminster Abbey in London.

British Prime Minister David Cameron praised the “fortitude and resilience” shown by families and loved ones of those killed.

“You have shown that terrorist acts cannot crush the human spirit. That is why terrorism will never prevail,” he said.