20 Dec 2005 The Fight Goes On
This is very disappointing.
The murdered sailor, Robert Stethem, was only 22 when he was killed — singled out by terrorists because he served in the U.S. military. Thanks to the Hezbollah hijackers who hijacked TWA Flight 847, he died in pain and missed nearly all his adult life.
Debbie Schlussel has an update from this summer, “TWA 847, 20 Years Later.” In it, she chronicles how Robert Stethem’s murderers mostly got off scot-free, while politicians make nice-nice with his killers and their benefactors.
Schlussel’s article also contains this:
…Robert Stethem was an American hero, who refused to denounce the United States while being tortured to death by Hezbollah murderers. As his brother, Ken, so eloquently said, “Every time I look at the flag now and for the rest of my life, the red will represent the blood he spilled, the blue the beating and bruises he endured, and the white the purity and integrity he demonstrated in sacrificing his life.”
Robert Stethem’s parents both served in the Navy; his father for 26 years. His brother Ken served in the Navy for 20 years, including as a Navy SEAL.
The U.S. Navy has named a destroyer in honor of Robert Stethem, and has his biography here.
Here’s a speech by then-President Ronald Reagan after the release of the TWA 847 hostages:
…this is no moment for celebration. Let it be clearly understood that the seven Americans still held captive in Lebanon must be released along with other innocent hostages from other countries; that the murderers of Robert Stethem and of our marines and civilians in El Salvador must be held accountable; that those responsible for terrorist acts throughout the world must be taken on by civilized nations; that the international community must ensure that all our airports are safe and that civil air travel is safeguarded; and that the world must unite in taking decisive action against terrorists, against nations that sponsor terrorists, and against nations that give terrorists safe haven.
This drama has reminded us how precious and fragile are the freedoms and standards of decency of civilized societies; how greatly civilized life depends on trust in other human beings; but how those values we hold most dear must also be defended with bravery — a bravery that may lie quiet and deep, but that will rise to answer our call in every time of peril. Freedom, democracy, and peace have enemies; they must also have steadfast friends.
The United States gives terrorists no rewards and no guarantees. We make no concessions; we make no deals. Nations that harbor terrorists undermine their own stability and endanger their own people. Terrorists, be on notice, we will fight back against you, in Lebanon and elsewhere. We will fight back against your cowardly attacks on American citizens and property…
We will remember and offer our thanks to all who helped us and who stood with us. And, yes, we’ll remember those who did not. We will not rest until justice is done. We will not rest until the world community meets its responsibility…. And we call upon the world community to strengthen its cooperation to stamp out this ugly, vicious evil of terrorism.
The fight goes on.