SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It’s Remembrance Week at Syracuse University, which honors the lives of 35 students killed on Dec. 21, 1988 when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland.
This December will mark the 35th anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. The plane had been carrying 270 people, including 35 Syracuse University students returning home after spending the semester abroad.
“It feels so long ago. But it still feels like yesterday for the families,” said Nicole Aponte, senior at Syracuse University and Remembrance Scholar.
On board was Syracuse University student, Nicholas Andreas Vrenios.
“He was a photography student who went abroad to London. He loved to travel with his family. He went to London with his three prize possessions, his camera, his skateboard and his guitar,” said Aponte.
Originally from the Washington DC area, Vrenios was known for his smile. He had spent the night before his flight home sharing with his professor his experience abroad.
“The next day when Pan Am Flight 103 when everyone was hearing about it, he’s like there’s no way its Nicholas’ plane. There’s no way he’s on that flight,” said Aponte.
A life cut short, Vrenios would never make it home. His life now being honored by Remembrance Scholar, Aponte.
The Remembrance Scholarship is one of the highest honors a Syracuse University student can receive and Aponte has wanted it since her sophomore year. Now a senior, Aponte is proud to call herself a Remembrance Scholar, honoring Vrenios.
She says she spent hours going through his archives, learning more about his life at time at Syracuse University.
“Going through those archives too was like very emotional for me. I was like I am going to be totally fine. Walking out, I am like I have a brand new perspective of life,” said Aponte.
“I think this program and representing Nicholas has taught me to be where my feet are and to be appreciative of every single moment and even if times get tough, smile through them. I would never have that kind of prescriptive. I never really believed that. If I told myself to be relaxed in the moment or just enjoy this hour that I have in class or this hour I am walking on campus, I feel like I am always rushing to the next thing so its really grounded me and its completely changed my perspective,” said Aponte.
Aponte says being part of this program has been life-changing.
“He’ll always have a special place in my heart. This has been like one of the greatest honors of my life,” said Aponte.
The annual Rose-laying Ceremony will be held on Friday at 2:03 p.m., the exact time of the bombing, at the place of Remembrance located in front of the Hall of Languages on Syracuse University campus.