Packed into a church, clustered among tombstones or seated in overflow halls, relatives and townspeople wept and prayed Wednesday for the dead of bombed Flight 103 as a minister urged them to turn their thoughts away from vengeance.
Lockerbie, the town where most of the Pan Am Boeing 747 crashed after being blown apart by a bomb, came to a standstill for the 40-minute service for the 259 people killed aboard the plane and the 11 residents who died on the ground.Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, in black coat and hat, and her husband Denis joined the other mourners, who packed into Dryfesdale Parish Church, clustered among nearby tombstones or sat in crowded hallways.
The local people, dignitaries, relatives and Pan Am staff members flown in by the airline for the service sang hymns and prayed.
Afterward, the 63-year-old prime minister, who visited the crash site the morning after the disaster, met privately with the relatives in a school.
Investigators have concluded a bomb blew up the plane, and suspicions have focused on Middle Eastern terrorists, prompting Mrs. Thatcher to advise the United States publicly against "eye for an eye" retaliation.
The Right Rev. James Whyte, moderator of the Church of Scotland, echoed that advice.
"Justice, yes. Retaliation, no," he told the congregation from the church's marble pulpit.
"We may be tempted, indeed urged by some, to flex our muscles in response, to show that we are men," Whyte said.
"To show that we are what? To show that we are prepared to let more young and more innocent die, to let more rescue workers labor in more wreckage to find the grisly proof, not of our virility, but of our inhumanity.
"That is what retaliation means. I, for one, will have none of it, and I hope you will not either."
The simple, dignified service was televised live to the nation, and to mourners gathered in a local cinema, community hall and church.
Many preferred to stand in the chilly rain among the old granite tombstones outside the church, huddled under umbrellas, dressed in windbreakers and cloth caps.
The lights of the austere, Presbyterian church shone brightly into the gathering afternoon gloom, and sheep grazed in a field nearby. The Union Jack flew at half-staff.
Pan Am said it flew several hundred employees and relatives of victims to Lockerbie, including Pan Am Chairman Thomas Plaskett. Many employees wore the airline uniform at the service.