This terrorist act triggered the most profound crisis of the Carter presidency and began a personal ordeal for Jimmy Carter and the American people that lasted 444 days.”

For those of us who remember these 444 days that stretched from 1979 – 1981, it was a time when nightly news coverage reminded us of every passing day these poor souls were being held captive with announcements such as “today is day 200 of the Iran hostage crisis.”

For four decades, until finally on January 20, 1981, these United States diplomats, military personnel, and civilians were held hostage by militant supporters of Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in violation of international law. From this bill, it is noted that these United States citizens were taken from the United States embassy in Tehran Iran and they were “subjected to intense physical and psychological torture throughout their captivity such as mock executions, beatings, solitary confinement, and inhospitable living conditions. Throughout their time held, the hostages were routinely told to denounce the United States and when they refused they were tortured but remained strong such as mock executions, beatings, solitary confinement and inhospitable living conditions.  Throughout their time held, the hostages were routinely told to denounce the United States and when they refused they were tortured but remained strong in their spirit.  One hostage wrote “Viva la roja, blanco, y azul” which translates to “long live the red, white and blue” on the wall of his cell as a reminder of the values he swore to protect.

The hostages showed extraordinary courage by continually engaging in acts of resistance against their captors, such as refusing to sign condemnations of the United States in the face of gross violations of their human rights.  Many of the hostages still experience trauma as a result of the events of the crisis and deserve to have their suffering recognized.  While as of the date of this Act, there are only 35 of the hostages still living, it is important that the people of the United States reflect on the resilience and strength of the hostages which serve as an example to current generations.  The people of the United States should acknowledge the hostages as heroes who experienced great tribulation and endured so that the people of the United States may know the blessings of living in the United States and strive to demonstrate the values shown by the hostages.

On January 22, 1981 President Jimmy Carter met with the hostages in West Germany and stated the following: “One of the acts in my life which have been the most moving and gratifying was in a meeting with and discussing the future and the past with the new liberated Americans who were held hostage in Iran for so long. I pointed out to them that since their capture by the Iranian terrorists and their being held in this despicable act of savagery, the American people’s hearts have gone out to them and the Nation has been united as perhaps never before in history and that prayers that have gone up from the people throughout the world to God for their safety has finally been answered.”  On January 28, 1981 when welcoming the hostages home, President Ronald Reagan stated the following “You’ve come home to the people who for 444 days suffered the pain of your imprisonment, prayed for your safety and most importantly, shared your determination that the spirit of free men and women is not a fit subject for barter.  You’ve represented under great stress the highest traditions of public service.  Your conduct is symbolic of the millions of professional diplomats, military personnel and others who have rendered service to their country.” 

During the 444 days the brave hostages were held, the rest of the United States held its breath waiting for news of the hostages.  The United States hoped and prayed together as one for the hostages safe return.  Bruce Laingen who served as the United States Ambassador to Iran from 1979 to 1980 and was the highest-ranking diplomat held hostage summed up the experience by saying the following “fifty-three Americans who will always have a love affair with this country and who join with you in a prayer of thanksgiving for the way in which this crisis has strengthened the spirit and resilience and strength that is the mark of a truly free society.”

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