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HOSTAGES : County Focus on Plight of U.S. Hostages

Orange County became a focus for the plight of hostages held thousands of miles away in the Middle East.

On Thursday, family members of hostages seized in Lebanon honored the Hy-Lond Convalescent Home in Westminster. The staff and residents of the home “adopted” the hostages last summer and hold daily prayer sessions to ask for their safe release.

On Friday, the hostages’ family members took part in a tree-planting ceremony at Liberty Park in Westminster. The trees were in honor of those five Americans still being held in Lebanon and in memory of of Peter Kilburn, another American hostage who was slain earlier this month in retaliation for the U.S. raid against Libya.

In an interview, the Rev. Benjamin Weir, a hostage who was freed last October, criticized President Reagan’s decision to bomb Libya. “It is apparent to me that the jeopardy and danger of the other hostages has highly increased,” said Weir, who was moderator for the tree-planting ceremonies. Weir, a Presbyterian minister from Berkeley, is the only American hostage among seven taken in the past two years to have been freed.

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