A hometown holiday letter-writing campaign for Terry Anderson ended with more than 17,000 messages of support for the journalist, who has been held captive in Lebanon for more than 31/2 years, organizers say.

"We have encouraged prayers, we have encouraged letters . . . we're getting letters from all over the United States," Jack LaVriha of the Free Terry Anderson Committee said Thursday at a school vigil marking completion of the drive.LaVriha said that although some people think Anderson will not see the letters, he believes they will be given to him.

"The world will be watching," LaVriha said. "I think there's going to be some compassion shown."