RIVERVALE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There was a feeling of relief and joy in the Tri-State area from the families of the victims of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
As reports of Moammar Gadhafi’s death flooded the airwaves Thursday, Bert Ammerman took a moment to reflect.
His 36-year-old brother, Tommy, was on board the jet which was brought down by a Libyan terrorist.
WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane with Bert Ammerman
GRAPHIC PHOTOS: Capture And Death Of Moammar Gadhafi
“To be tragically blown out of the air at 31,000 feet – I don’t think people can comprehend that,” Ammerman told CBS 2’s Jay Dow.
Ammerman said there was once a time when he believed it would be impossible to remove the dictator from power.
“I honestly felt that he would outlive me,” he said.
Ammerman arrived in Lockerbie, Scotland the day after the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. For the last 24 years, he’s essentially held down two careers: an educator and as one of the more outspoken family members seeking justice for his brother.
“I’ve said over and over again, over the 24 years that I’ve lived a Tom Clancy novel, in what has taken place, where I’ve been, what we’ve been involved in,” Ammerman told WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane. “Never once did our government really step forward and say ‘this is what we’re going to do for you.’ It was always pressure, embarrassment, pressure, pressure.”
Today, there is finally some sense of relief.
“Today is probably the most satisfying day I’ve had in this 24-year odyssey,” Ammerman said.
It’s an odyssey that Ammerman says he now hopes to put behind him.
“Our main goal was that our loved ones wouldn’t die in vain,” Ammerman said. “It shows if you want to get involved in this cowardly act you will pay a price.”
Eleven years after the bombing, Gadhafi finally handed over the Lockerbie suspects for trial. Scotland released one of the bombers – who was said to be suffering from terminal cancer — in 2009. He is still alive today.