The disappearance of EgyptAir 804 has made me think a lot about Pan Am Flight 103 and the Syracuse College students killed by terrorists on December 21, 1988. I was in college at the time and more than any other act of terrorism, it impacted me the most. Even more than the Oklahoma City bombing that claimed the life of a college classmate (RIP Jill).
Among the 270 people killed on Pan Am 103 were 35 college students from Syracuse. Thirty-four of them were Gen-Xers — probably the first victims of the War on Terror from our generation.
This week, I started reading about their lives. It’s made me so sad. And, it’s made me wonder what the hell I’ve been doing. What have I done with all the years I’ve been given? Forty-eight so far. Those Syracuse students had so few. A couple of decades and some change and they were gone. Blown out of the sky by mad men.
They’re still blowing people out of the sky.
God help us. This life can be so brutal and death, so random.
I contacted the archivists at Syracuse and they are going to help me create a blog series in memory of the victims. (Look for the first post in early June.) In thinking about all this, it occurred to me that in 2007, when I started blogging about Generation X, it was all about me — my essays, my thoughts, my memoirs. But, after nearly a decade, it’s not about me anymore. It’s about you. It’s about the collective us. Stories about our generation.
Here are the birth dates of the 34 Gen X Syracuse students who were killed on December 21, 1988. May they rest in peace. May they inspire us all to give thanks for the years and the days.
- Frederick Sandford “Sandy” Phillips, May 8, 1961
- John Michael Gerard Ahern, April 16, 1962
- Jocelyn K. Reina, May 26, 1962
- Wendy Anne Lincoln, January 21, 1965
- Turhan Michael Ergin, May 14, 1966
- Suzanne Marie Miazga, July 31, 1966
- Anne Lindsey Otenasek, January 13, 1967
- Louise Ann Rogers, February 13, 1967
- Alexander Lowenstein, February 25, 1967
- Beth Ann Johnson, March 24, 1967
- Mark Lawrence Tobin, April 4, 1967
- Timothy Michael Cardwell, July 5, 1967
- Theodora Cohen, September 10, 1967
- Cynthia Joan Smith, October 6, 1967
- Nicole Elise Boulanger, October 28, 1967
- John Patrick Flynn, November 24, 1967
- Kenneth John Bissett, December 19, 1967
- Thomas Britton Schultz, January 5, 1968
- Karen Lee Hunt, January 7, 1968
- Colleen Renee Brunner, January 4, 1968
- Eric and Jason Coker (Twin Brothers) April 23, 1968
- Gretchen Joyce Dater, May 17, 1968
- Steven Russell Barrell, June 19, 1968
- Julianne Frances Kelly, June 27, 1968
- Alexia Kathryn Tsairis, July 6, 1968
- Elyse Jeanne Saraceni, June 1, 1968
- Sarah Susannah Buchanan Philipps, August 15, 1968
- Nicholas Andreas Vrenios, August 20, 1968
- Richard Paul Monetti, September 11, 1968
- Scott Marsh Cory Collection, September 27, 1968
- Miriam Luby Woolfe, September 26, 1968
- Stephen John Boland, September 28, 1968
- Keesha Weedon, October 2, 1968
- Shannon Davis, February 19, 1969
- Pamela Elaine Herbert, March 27, 1969
Gen-Xers killed in the attack who were not Syracuse students were:
Clare Louise Bacciochi, March 15, 1969
Julian MacBain Benello, December 28, 1962
What do you remember about Pan Am Flight 103? Please follow along this summer as I honor the memory of the Syracuse college students killed by terrorists.