Thursday, December 18, 2008

Quiet Heroes

Sometimes I feel inspired to write posts on this 'ere blog, but it's usually when I'm miles away, perhaps driving to work, perhaps sitting in the cinema, even while shopping... always when my mind is wandering as it so often does. Today I've decided to pop a quick post up because I'm actually sat sitting here at my PC at the right moment.

I've just been reading an article about Lockerbie on my local newspaper's website. It's the 20th anniversary this weekend, and because I now work in the town it's rising up in my consciousness as I'm sure it is with everyone else who remembers it.

My memories: I was 18 - I'd just come home from my boyfriends on my bike, on a cold dark evening. I thought I would be in trouble for getting home late... I was called into the living room and remember very vividly standing there in my reflective sash and waterproofs, steamy hot from both the bikeride and the heated room, watching the news open-mouthed. At this stage the news reports were saying it was probably two fighter jets which had collided; a fair assumption as we have so many training flights over the area. So we settled in for the night and watched all the reports until (as with most of these occasions) the news teams changed their story, then ran out of things to say, the police had clammed up, things were repeating themselves and so, we all went to bed.

I don't really remember anything else in detail, we were after all miles away, and most of the conversations at work revolved around the stories of sandwiches being donated by the company to feed the searchparty members, and the idea that the bomb maybe went off right above our heads, how we were lucky to have escaped, and then - well - then it was Christmas. We got on with our lives, subdued but pretty damned normal. This was a time in my life when venturing to Lockerbie had associations with teenage ice-skating trips with the Girl Guides; of course the fact the ice rink was used as a mortuary was amazing to me (I pass it almost every day; I think of this fact every single time).

I realise some of my workmates might read this post, and hope they don't mind. I realise they all have stories and none talk openly, and I never ask. Sometimes it is hinted at, and there are plenty of legacies remaining both emotional and financial but at the end of the day they are normal folk in a normal wee Scottish toon, which is dank in the winter and pretty in the summer, complete with school kids outside eating chips in their lunchbreaks and old ladies rushing the Pelican crossing past the boarded-up old shops caused by the obligatory Tesco takeover... but it's always a busy main street as it's not too far from the motorway, and handy for the curious traveller taking a slight detour.

There's always a sense of vague sadness to the place but tomorrow night we will be ignoring all this and attending the company Christmas party, held at a large local hotel and trying not to think of the rescue teams, families and volunteers which probably stayed there during the searches.... or is this just me, I dunno. I doubt we'll talk about it, though.



Brother Tobias said...

From early childhood Lockerbie was always a stop on the way north; a pleasant, small market town with character and some nice local stone buildings. It still is to some extent - we stopped off to buy pasties from a bakers this summer. But it is sad for the town that it is also forever associated with this tragic atrocity. Like Dunblane and Hungerford, a few terrible minutes weigh more in national consciousness than centuries of lives and loves lived out there.

Anonymous said...

Hard to believe it is now 20 years ago - I still remember vividly the shock and horror of the event, though I was nowhere near it. I have just looked at the BBC report of todays remembrances - what must it be like for those who have been afflicted with this terrible trauma! I hope one day there will be healing and peace for them. I will put this wish into all my work this week.

pebblesfromheaven said...

hi both ... thanks for you comments.
BT: I used to know Dunblane quite well too; again a normal wee Scottish toon (which happens to have a cathedral?!)

Linda: Thanks for your thoughts

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