Former American hostage Peter Kilburn, who was kidnaped and murdered by terrorists in Lebanon, was buried Tuesday at a picturesque Army cemetery overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.
About 60 people, including friends and relatives of Americans still being held prisoner in Beirut, attended the 45-minute services at the white stucco military chapel at the Presidio.
They wore yellow armbands in memory of Kilburn, 62, a native of nearby Berkeley who had spent more than 20 years in the Middle East. He was executed April 17 along with two British teachers by terrorists who said they were avenging the U.S. air raids on Libya.
Kilburn’s family called for peace in the Middle East and made a public plea for release of the remaining five hostages.
“We, the family of Peter Kilburn, wish to speak to the people of Lebanon,” said his nephew, Tim Kilburn, who wept briefly at the podium. “We ask you to put down your guns and seek peace with your neighbors in memory of Peter, who was with you for 20 years.”
The Rev. Benjamin Weir, an American held hostage in Lebanon and then released after 18 months of captivity, led the services and praised Kilburn as “a man of peace.”
“He helped. He invested himself. He suffered and he died a brutal death,” said Weir, a Presbyterian minister also from Berkeley. He knew Kilburn when they both lived in Beirut.
Kilburn is the first American hostage known to have been killed since the U.S. retaliatory attacks on Libya.
The mourners included representatives of the American hostages whose fate remain unknown: Peggy Say, sister of Terry Anderson, Associated Press bureau chief in Beirut; Eric Jacobsen, son of David Jacobsen, a hospital administrative director; Father Ed Penonzek, representing Father Lawrence Jenco, Catholic Relief Services director, and Ann Sutherland, daughter of Thomas Sutherland, the dean of agriculture at American University.
The other American kidnaped was William Buckley, U.S. Embassy political officer. Terrorists last year said they murdered Buckley, but his body has not been found.