It was a terrible prelude to Christmas 1988 for the little Scottish community of Lockerbie, and it has become an annual ritual, intruding on the season of goodwill.
Flowers are laid and pipes played every 21st of December now for the victims; those in the air, blown up in the Pan Am jumbo jet, and those on the ground struck by the flaming wreckage, 270 souls in all, the worst-ever terrorist attack on British soil.
Thirty years on from the attack and the circumstances and guilty parties in the outrage are still unclear, and there remains a feeling that Lockerbie has yet to give up all of its secrets.
The flight was bound for New York from London when it exploded over Scotland. In 2003 Libya's Muammar Ghaddafi admitted responsibility, but he did not admit any personal role.