Father of Lockerbie victim follows daughter's call to action

The powerful message left by young victim of ... 02:36

ARLINGTON,Va. -- A videotape captures 16-year-old Melina Hudson one month before she died in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103. She was a New York exchange student then in England, and to her father, the tape captures her kindness and spirit.

Melina Hudson CBS News
 "She was a beautiful, 16-year-old teenager," says Paul Hudson. "She had always been strong willed."

The tape held Melina's last words to the family, until nine months later, when residents of Lockerbie, Scotland, recovered Melina's possessions from the debris. One in particular took Hudson's breath away.

"One of them was a school notebook which she had done doodling on the outside cover," Hudson says. "And under that, there was a statement, 'No one dies, unless they are forgotten.' I felt this was, in effect, a motto, as well as a call to action."

Hudson responded to his daughter's words by leading two separate groups of Lockerbie victims' families. The groups demanded and won a more aggressive investigation of the bombing. And they repeatedly pushed Congress to improve airport security.

Paul Hudson CBS News
 His mission continues today. He now leads a nonprofit group that fights for rights of airline passengers.

He says he has tried to fulfill his daughter's words.

"And when my time is over, I hope that she will say, 'OK, you did what you could,'" Hudson says. "That's in my dreams, anyway."

Hudson often visits the Lockerbie Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, where the names of all 270 victims are etched in cast iron. He still comes here to tell his strong-willed 16-year-old her words and message are still alive.

  • Wyatt Andrews
    Wyatt Andrews

    Wyatt Andrews is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Washington D.C. He is responsible for tracking trends in politics, health care, energy, the environment and foreign affairs.