Three American families grieve, miles apart, in common circumstance

Their father, husband, son, brother, grandpa or friend is being held hostage in Iran, today.

Yet the 3 families express their good wishes to others at Christmastime!

It is a wonderful thing about America that people of many faiths and traditions will come together to grieve, emote and care for those who are suffering among us.  Many thousands, regardless of their own religions, have reached out to the three hurting families of the men held hostage in Iran today.

I find it fascinating that while we who are on the outside try to lift the spirits of those experiencing such a deep pain that we cannot truly imagine, and they in turn INSPIRE US!  All three families are most remarkable and are right to be proud of their family member in Iran.

rock ctr tree n statue 2I wanted to do this small tribute before the glow of Christmas’ good tidings wanes. I thought it would be good for avid supporters of one particular hostage in Iran to know more about the other two, as well as their loving families.

Prepare to be inspired…by them. My Christmas wish is that every day more Americans will become informed of the plight of these 3 men, individually and collectively. Perhaps you who are reading this are already aware, but have friends who are not as tuned in to the Iran hostage situation. Please consider reTweeting or Facebooking this along with your own comments.


I firmly believe as the three hostages become better known to us all and are a more frequent topic of conversation nationally, that Americans will begin to demand, politely but firmly, that our President will say these words to Secretary of State John Kerry and the negotiating team: “Make it happen!”

In alphabetical order, I selected some of the families’ recent Christmas thoughts ‘in their own words:’

Saeed Abedini, 33, Christian Pastor, family in Idaho and Iran

saeed suffering for christ postersaeed made wooden crossPastor Saeed gave, albeit perhaps unintentionally, an amazing gift to his family just before Christmas.  He was moved out of Evin, a terrible, hostile place, to an even worse prison in Iran in early November.

Iranian family members were able to glean from his old cell a small wooden cross and a poster that Saaed was somehow able to fashion.

He kept these items over his bed. But his captors did not send them along when the prisoner was moved. Miraculously, the family retrieved these items and mailed them to his wife in America. He has not been able to see or talk to his wife or 2 children since being incarcerated for his faith.

saeed fam at disney

This is the second Christmas that Saeed has spent away from his family. Mrs. Abedini described her hopes and wishes in a Fox interview just before Christmas:

On Christmas Day, Saeed Abedini has spent 516 days in an Iranian prison for his Christian faith.

Amir Hekmati, 30, former U.S. Marine, family in Michigan and Iran

hekmati familyamir turkey legFamily members posted this on December 25 on Facebook:

“We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season.”

And Dec 26:

“For those who couldn’t tune in to ‘The Take Away’ program on NY’s Public Radio station, you can hear the interview with Amir’s sister Sarah right here:

amir fb free our uncle

“US citizen and former Marine #Amir Hekmati has been unjustly imprisoned in #Iran’s notorious #Evin prison for 848 days. #freeamir”

Robert Levinson, 65, former FBI/DEA agent, family in Florida

bob l heroes believeOn Facebook December 25:

“Today is 2,483 days that our father Robert Levinson has missed.”

“On this Christmas, the pain of not having him with us is almost unbearable.  Our Christmas wish is not only for him to come home, but for all of you (our friends and family) to hold your loved ones tight.  Enjoy this night in great company and never take for granted what you have.

We wish you a Merry Christmas this year and many more to come.”

Bob l grandpa 2On December 24:

On this Christmas Eve, we mark 2,482 days that our dad has been held as a hostage.

Many of you who know Bob personally know that he is not exceptionally handy. Most parents on Christmas Eve end up building/assembling some of the toys that night. So take one not so handy Dad and multiply that by 7 kids and you can imagine what his night was like.

Christmas morning was always the best in our house. Whoever got up the earliest would wake up all the rest of us kids and make us come out to see the tree and all of the presents underneath it. We would then run into Mom and Dad’s room and wake them up and drag them out of bed. Mom would put on a pot of coffee, and Dad, half asleep (really, half asleep) would sit on the couch and admire how happy all of his children were. We know that the lack of sleep was worth it just to see the sheer excitement of his children admiring their new bikes (that he assembled!) and unwrapping all of the gifts that they had asked for.

Even though we are grown, we miss him so much. Bob Levinson truly lights up a room. We would gladly trade all of our presents for our dad’s freedom.

bob l family FB touched upOn December 23 (my personal favorite):

We often had difficulty finding the right Christmas present for our father. Whenever we asked him what he wanted for the holiday, he would always reply that he just wanted to see his children happy and healthy.

The Christmas before he disappeared, he got his wish. Despite tough scheduling (especially for the majority of his children who had already moved out of the house), all nine members of our family gathered for the holiday in 2006.  We exchanged gifts, had dinner, laughed, enjoyed each other’s company, and had no idea it would be the last time we would all be together under one roof.

Christmas means something different for everyone, but for us it means family. We can’t wait to celebrate one when we are all together again. It just isn’t the same without our Dad, and never will be.

Hopefully, next year will be the year that we can celebrate as a family once again.”


FAT red echoes the last sentiment above.  However, the holiday that I want them all to be home for first, and for the nation to celebrate, is Independence Day- July 4, 2014. That’s more than six months from today. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wait until late November, 2014 to see a ‘hallway-handshake’ at the United Nations between the two Presidents and call that ‘progress.’

The American public needs to help President Obama make this decision a top priority issue. We are not negotiating with terrorists, in the classic sense. But we are negotiating with a nation-state, The Islamic Republic of Iran, that at times acts like a terrorist and uses terrorist tactics.

We call for the release and return of the 3 American hostages within the next 6 months coinciding with the present six-month Iranian nuclear agreement, that is, Phase 1. There should be no Phase 2 agreement, which would entail Iran receiving more U.S. $billions of dollars in sanctions relief, unless the return of all 3 men to their families and the Nation occurs first.  This must be a pre-condition of any new deal.

Mr. President: Make it happen, please!