On this day in 1981 just minutes after Ronald Reagan's inauguration as the 40th president of the United States, the 52 U.S. captives held at the U.S. embassy in Teheran, Iran, were released, ending their 444-day struggle in captivity.
The Iran Hostage Crisis as I remember hearing it called on the CBS Evening News, began on November 4, 1979, when militant Iranian students, outraged that the U.S. government had allowed the ousted shah of Iran to travel to New York City for medical treatment, seized the U.S. embassy in Teheran. The Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran's political and religious leader, refused all appeals to release the hostages. However, two weeks after all non-U.S. captives, and all female and minority Americans were released. The remaining 52 captives remained at the mercy of their captors for the next 14 months.
President Jimmy Carter, unable to diplomatically resolve the crisis, decided a military rescue mission was in order, unfortunately on April 24, 1980, the mission he ordered, went disastrously wrong, and eight U.S. military personnel were killed when the aircraft they were riding in crashed in the desert. Three months later, the former shah died of cancer in Egypt, but the crisis continued. In November 1980, Carter lost the presidential election to Republican Ronald Reagan. Soon after, with the assistance of Algerian intermediaries, successful negotiations began between the United States and Iran. On the day of Reagan's inauguration, the United States freed almost $8 billion in frozen Iranian assets, and the hostages were released after 444 days. The next day, Jimmy Carter flew to West Germany to greet the Americans on their way home.
In honor of those 52 amazing individuals, and the eight members of the Special Forces team sent in to get them (because freedom isn’t free) today’s quotes are on freedom.
“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself.” -Thomas Paine, 1737-1809
“Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1890-1969
“I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery, 1900-1944
“Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.” – François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire), 1694-1778
“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1882-1945