April 13, 1981

I am pleased to join the Department of State in honoring those members of the Foreign Service who were held captive in Iran and those who worked on their behalf during their 444-day ordeal. Every American remembers with pride the dignity, determination, and quiet courage with which they withstood the abuse of their captors. We remember the joy and thanksgiving that united the Nation on their release.

We must be resolved that this cruel episode in our history shall not be forgotten -- that we will ensure our professional diplomats and military personnel every means of protection that America can offer.

We also owe thanks to the families of those held captive and of their fellows in the Foreign Service who worked and prayed so hard for their return. But the deepest debt of all is to those eight Americans who gave their lives in an effort to win freedom for their fellow citizens. All these citizens, with their dedication, are the basis of America's strength.

Note: Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig, Jr., read the statement during ceremonies at the Department of State honoring the diplomatic and U.S. Marine personnel who had been held captive in Iran.