Senators, journalists and former hostages on Friday honored Terry Anderson and other Americans still held in Lebanon, with special tribute to the professionalism and "guts" of the AP reporter imprisoned for six years.
"We have not forgotten them, and we will not forget them," President Bush said of six American hostages in a letter to Peggy Say, Anderson's sister, marking the anniversary of his capture.Bush, who has revived the hostage issue since the end of the Persian Gulf war, told Say that her brother and five others "are held cruelly apart from their families simply because they are Americans."
Katharine Graham, chairwoman of The Washington Post Co., said at an emotional, 90-minute ceremony at the Capitol that Anderson had risked his personal safety to bring the world the story of Lebanon.
"Our American name for it is guts," she said. "Terry Anderson embodies this description."
Relatives and friends of the other American hostages - Thomas Sutherland, Joseph Cicippio, Jesse Turner, Alann Steen and Edward Austin Tracy - attended the ceremony. Sutherland's wife, Jean, flew from Beirut.
Anderson, 43, the chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press, was seized by unknown assailants on a street in Beirut on March 16, 1985.
"There is only the frustration and the anger that we in the AP feel at the mindless savagery of people who would hold a man for so long for no reason," said AP Vice President Walter Mears.
But Say, reflecting optimism shared by other speakers, said the Capitol Hill gathering, similar to those held annually since Anderson was seized, "is the last ceremony."
Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., one of Say's strongest backers on Capitol Hill, said the United States was closer than ever before to promoting "a political settlement" that could lead to freedom for the hostages.
The hostages are thought to be held by pro-Iranian Shiites operating in an area of Beirut controlled by the Syrian army.