(ARLINGTON, Va.) — Wednesday’s commemoration for the victims of the December 1988 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people — most of them Americans — was slightly different this year.
With Col. Moammar Gadhafi now dead — the victim of Libyan rebel forces who overthrew his regime earlier this year — White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan said the families of the bombing victims can take some solace knowing that the infamous dictator is no longer around.
A Libyan agent was eventually convicted for planting the explosives on Pan Am Flight 103 but the U.S. blamed Gadhafi for ordering the attack.
During a memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery, Brennan said Gadhafi’s death added poignancy to the occasion. While his regime took some responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing, Gadhafi would never say that he personally gave the orders.
Brennan also told mourners that the U.S. will keep after the Libyan government to bring Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the man convicted of planting the bomb, to justice. He was released by Scottish authorities on compassionate grounds two years after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. But al-Megrahi returned home to a hero’s welcome, and is still alive, residing somewhere in Libya.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Joshua Berlinger, Marilia Brocchetto and Fernando Ramos, CNN
Catherine E. Shoichet, Max Blau and Steve Almasy, CNN