Mom recalls Army officer son, killed in Pan Am crash over Lockerbie
Helena Williams went to the cemetery to lay a wreath on the grave of her son, Army 1st Lt. George "Geordie" Williams on the 25th anniversary of his death in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
For Williams, formerly of Joppatowne, Md., the anniversary of her only son's death is always painful.
"All the memories of him and what he went through, you never really get over it, I guess," said Williams, who lives in Oak Crest Village in Parkville, Md.
Stationed in Bad Kreuznach, West Germany, and on his way home for the holidays to visit his family in Joppatowne, Lt. Williams was killed Dec. 21, 1988, when his plane exploded. A suitcase bomb, eventually traced to Libyan terrorists, had been planted in the plane's baggage.
The 243 passengers and 16 crew members on the plane and 11 people on the ground were killed.
A Libyan intelligence officer was tried and convicted but was released from a Scottish prison in 2009 suffering from terminal prostate cancer. He died in May 2012. In 2003, Libyan leader Muammar Minyar al-Gaddafi accepted responsibility for the bombing. Gaddafi was killed in a civil war in 2011.
Since Helena Williams moved to Oak Crest a few years ago with her husband, George H. Williams, who died in November 2012, she has been going through lots of items that remind her of her son, their only child.
"There's all kinds of stuff, from his career in the Army, his high school days, all the time he spent at home, just so many memories," Williams, 83, said.
Lt. Williams would be 49, she said. He is buried in The Church of the Resurrection, in Joppatowne, next to his father, a former Marine.
"By now, I'm sure he would have been married, probably would have had children of his own," she said. She often thinks about what he missed in life.
Life has been very different for Williams since her son, who was called "Geordie," died.
"It's been very tough," she said. "There's no way I could express how empty life is, really.
"That was the biggest shock of my life. I'll never forget when they called me and told me the plane had gone down. I will never forget that," she continued. "I remember that distinctly. I'll never, ever forget the feeling."
She said she couldn't believe it at first, the shock of hearing over the phone that her son's plane had gone down and there were no survivors.
"When it really hits you, there's no way to express how you feel."
Williams said she and her husband, who was always very vocal about seeing justice served in his son's death, had just been to see Lt. Williams in Germany that summer.
"I had said we should wait until spring; my husband said let's go now. It's a good thing we did," she said.
When she thinks about Geordie, she remembers what a good boy he was, what a great guy.
"He made us proud," she said.