January, 1981

I must write about the past week because it has great historical significance for America and perhaps the entire world. Not the inauguration. This was beautifully staged and televised. It should have been since it reputedly cost 8 million. But, this was almost an anticlimax to what happened on this very day. I had mentioned before, things began to look like we were going to get the hostages released each day and for ten days we seemed to get closer and closer to an agreement with Iran. but, or several days there would be delays caused by the Iranians. Finally, on January 19th, there were reports that they were in the plane ready to take off. But, then we heard of more delays. Then came January 20th and the inauguration. All through this we were waiting, and getting bulletins on TV and radio every few minutes about whether the plane had taken off or not. It was an Algerian plan sent in to get them and we owe a great debt to that country for their help. Finally, just a few seconds after Reagan was sworn in as President, word came that the plane was in the air. Reagan made the announcement, and while I certainly am not a fan of Carter, I felt strongly that Reagan should have let the ex-president Carter make the announcement, because he had worked hard for the release.

But no matter, we were overjoyed to know that the plane was actually in the air. It is now the 27th and each day has added to the strong feeling of Americans about the 444 days of captivity and the final release. This has been TV at its finest and I must admit the networks have done a magnificent job.

Tuesday, the 20th was an extra great day for me. In December or the end of November, 1980, I was asked to be chairman of the Provo Chamber of Commerce installation banquet. Why I accepted I’ll never know, but while it was a big job, it was made easier by the great men and women I worked within the Chamber, and only a few that I had known before. Everyone cooperated and helped tremendously. We planned a slide presentation that was both humorous and serious about Provo and the new people coming on the chamber roster and a tribute to those who were leaving. I got a couple of darling singers and a pianist to play and sing softly, a great gal did the decorations among other things a white fake tree branch with an eagle on it. On one branch of each ‘tree’ she had tied a yellow ribbon. This was because the song ‘Tie Yellow Ribbon to the Old Oak Tree” had become the symbolic theme song for welcoming the hostages. There were thousands of yellow ribbons for our hostages. Some said it was the best banquet they had ever attended. It had been a great day up to that point. I may have been that some of the deep feelings of happiness about the hostages being on their way, and the inauguration made everything seem good.

While packing for a trip to Cedar Rapids, I watched the planes land at Wiesbaden and the hostages alight and go in buses to the hospital at the U.S. base there. It was a scene after scene emotional time. Also, much information about the way our hostages were treated came out. There were many atrocities, but they seem to be recovering both physically and psychologically very well. They have been so pleased and overwhelmed by the reception they received everywhere that perhaps this lightened some of the memories of their captivity. They were kept in Wiesbaden, Germany for about four days and then flown to the U.S. and taken to West Point, where they took over an entire hotel for their reunions with their families.