Friday, January 20, 2006

25 Years Later

25 years ago today, 52 American hostages were released from a 444-day hostage ordeal at the hands of the Iranians as Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President of the United States. Lest we forget, more than a year earlier the Carter Administration's inaction to deal with that hostage situation established that there were some steps that the US simply wouldn't or couldn't take to safeguard its citizens. A single failed attempt at a rescue operation showed the world that the US could be a paper tiger. It showed the world that US presidents without the will or wherewithall to use force to protect itself and its ideals could be bullied into submission.

And those images provided incentives for terrorists hellbent on destruction to carry out their deadly goals.

We're still living with the repercussions of those 444 days. As are the survivors of the hostage ordeal.
For 444 days they had been tied and blindfolded, held hostage in the U.S. Embassy in Iran by student revolutionaries incensed at the United States' decision to admit Iran's ailing and deposed shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, for medical treatment. Long before 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq, there were the Iran hostages. Their plight paralyzed a country unaccustomed to such an affront and likely cost President Jimmy Carter reelection in 1980. Then, 25 years ago today, they were released the moment Ronald Reagan took the oath of office.

They returned to an adoring nation that gave them a ticker-tape parade and welcomed them as heroes. They were besieged with flags, yellow ribbons and countless gifts, among them the tiny box from Major League Baseball. Inside was a lifetime pass to any major or minor league game.

What each did with the pass says something about the group of 52 diplomats and military personnel. Some embraced it, using it often. Others tucked it away, rarely, if ever, pulling it out. The response was as varied as the ways they approached their notoriety and fame, back then and in the quarter-century that has passed, a quarter-century that has seen the number of living former hostages dwindle to 42.

Others noting today's historical significance: Michelle Malkin, Mark Tapscott, and The Officer's Club.

Posted to bRight and Early, Don Surber, Below the Beltway, and Basil's Blog. The following new blog is also covering the story (and I figured they could use the exposure): Random Thoughts.

Cold Fury, Shrink Wrapped, and Flopping Aces also note the significance of this day in history and the continuing effects of the Iranian hostage crisis on US foreign policy, national security, and Middle East geopolitics.

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