Armen Khachaturian, of Glen Ridge, N.J., attended the service in Virginia to honor his close college friend and former Fairleigh Dickinson fraternity brother, Elia Stratis, one of the victims.
"It's indescribable what you go through when you hear something like that. It's reality that hits you square in the face, but the mind just can't process it. You can't believe it," said Khachaturian, 67, an engineer who said he was attending his first Lockerbie memorial ceremony and had recently dreamt that Stratis had somehow returned to life.
"My mind is still not processing, not accepting that he's gone," he said. "He was back after like 30 years of having been lost somewhere, being captive somewhere."
In Scotland, officials including Scottish leader Alex Salmond and relatives of victims gathered at Lockerbie's Dryfesdale Cemetery on Saturday.
"In my heart, to me this is home and there was no other place I felt I should be on this very sad and special occasion," said Jane Schultz, who lost her 20-year-old son, Thomas. "It's nice and peaceful and it's where Thomas was, so it's like coming home."
Syracuse was also holding a public memorial service in a campus chapel as well as a procession to the university's Wall of Remembrance.
One man — former Libyan intelligence official Abdel Baset al-Megrahi — was convicted of the bombing, and a second Libyan suspect was acquitted of all charges. Al-Megrahi was given a life sentence, but Scottish authorities released him on humanitarian grounds in 2009 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He died in Tripoli last year.
Many questions remain unanswered about the attack, but the governments of Britain, the U.S. and Libya on Saturday issued a joint statement saying they will cooperate to reveal "the full facts" of the case.
"We are striving to further deepen our co-operation and welcome the visit by U.K. and U.S. investigators to Libya in the near future to discuss all aspects of that co-operation, including sharing of information and documents and access to witnesses," the statement read.
Hui reported from London. Associated Press writer David Caruso in New York contributed to this report.