David P. Jacobsen wept for joy today on seeing his children again and said he longed for the day other Americans held in Lebanon also are free. Hours later, Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite offered hope that may be soon.
Jacobsen's three grown children arrived in nearby Frankfurt this morning to see their father. He was released by his Shia Muslim kidnapers in Beirut on Sunday after more than 17 months of captivity.
After a day of medical tests at the U.S. Air Force Hospital here, Jacobsen was pronounced in good health and told he will not need follow-up medical care.
The family had an emotional midday reunion at the hospital and the children welcomed their 55-year-old father to freedom with a song.
Later, Waite told a news conference in Wiesbaden he expects to hear within 24 hours from his contacts whether he will be returning to Beirut to negotiate the release of more Western hostages.
Waite, the envoy of Archbishop of Canterbury Robert A. K. Runcie, said there are "reasonably strong suggestions" that the next two hostages to be released will be two Americans also held since 1985--Associated Press chief Middle East correspondent Terry A. Anderson and educator Thomas Sutherland.
Jacobsen, a hospital administrator and a native of Huntington Beach, Calif., said he has been thinking about running for the U.S. Congress.
'My Timing Is Bad'
"Unfortunately my timing is very, very bad. The election is today," he told reporters. "So, you're going to have to wait off for two years. But I'm going to do it (run for Congress). It's going to happen, it's what's in my destiny."
He spoke to reporters from a flag-draped hospital balcony, where he appeared with his sons Eric and Paul and his daughter, Diane Duggan.
They spent about 1 1/2 hours inside the hospital before emerging to meet journalists. Jacobsen hugged his children, who then played a recorded song about his homecoming, "When the Word Comes," written and sung by the two sons.
With tears in his eyes, Jacobsen said today was "a day of joy with my kids."
Hoping for Others
"I want to thank God for my kids, for their wisdom and their judgment."
But Jacobsen repeated earlier statements that he now hopes for the release of other Americans missing in Lebanon.
"I hope to God they'll be coming out soon and by God I'll be down there with you (reporters) loving them, too," he said.
Five Americans and 13 other foreigners remain missing in Lebanon.
Jacobsen, director of the American University Hospital in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, told reporters how much he missed baseball and UCLA football games.