Remembrance Scholars reflect on 35 years of healing, unity and education.

The 2023-24 Remembrance Scholars outside the Hall of Languages. “Being a Remembrance Scholar is a transformative journey,” says Guerdyna Gelin ’24 (bottom row, third from left). “I’ve experienced personal growth while promoting peace and preserving legacy.”

Sophie Creager-Roberts ’24 wasn’t born when the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing occurred on Dec. 21, 1988, but that hasn’t stopped her from learning about it. If anything, she has developed a unique perspective of the tragedy, in which 270 passengers, including 35 Syracuse University students, died over Lockerbie, Scotland.

SU recently caught up with Creager-Roberts (SCR) and four other Remembrance Scholars to discuss the bombing’s 35th anniversary—Benjamin Johnson ’24 (BJ), an Air Force ROTC cadet majoring in computer engineering; Guerdyna Gelin ’24 (GG), a policy studies major; Lucio Maffei ’24 (LM), a dual major in ethics and political philosophy; and Emily Shuman ’24 (ES), a human development and family science major.

Below are the responses from AFROTC Cadet Johnson.

Why should we remember events like the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing?

BJ: Doing so fosters unity and resilience. When we come together, we can help heal the emotional wounds surrounding such a tragedy. It reminds us that every life is precious, that we should work to protect the lives of others.

Why did you apply for the scholarship?

BJ: I applied so that I could surround myself with people who have the same passion and motivation as I for serving their community. In a few months, I’ll graduate from Syracuse as a second lieutenant and make an impact somewhere else in the world. I hope that as a Remembrance Scholar, I’ve been able to demonstrate how education and service can help strengthen the community and give people a sense of purpose.