Sunday, October 18, 2015
An American Hero Who Wasn't an American
An American Hero Who Wasn’t an American
An American hero died this week. He wasn’t an American, though, so just why he is an American hero needs some explaining.
In 1979, when the President of the United States was so useless that even a Merovingian might despise him, the Ayatollah Khomeini and his murderous mobs decided to seize the American Embassy in Tehran.
Fifty-two Americans were imprisoned and humiliated for 444 days while the President of the United States did little but wallow in his own helplessness.
Happily, not every nation was as feckless. Six American staffers who happened not to be in the embassy during the takeover were smuggled into the Canadian Embassy through the help of others, including – and we must not forget this - Iranians.
Ken Taylor, Canada’s ambassador to Iran in 1979, along with John Sheardown and his wife and other Canadians, hid the Americans for three months while planning an escape for them. The Canadian government generated false passports and a good cover story, and despite poor decisions by the C.I.A. which almost ruined everything, Ambassador Taylor and his staff managed to smuggle the Americans out of Iran on a commercial flight before escaping themselves.
Had this gone bad the Canadians might have been murdered by any of the mobs whose riots and murders and shifting allegiances constituted the Iranian government under the Ayatollahs.
Hollywood, in gratitude to Canada and Ambassador Taylor, made a movie about the operation in which the C.I.A. got the Americans out while the Canadians did little to help. This – and the threat of a wall – is how our nation often treats its best friend and strongest ally.
Mr. Taylor reminded everyone that there were Iranians who knew of the fugitive Americans and risked their own lives in not ratting them out. Not for these brave Iranians and Canadians the concept of “what difference…does it make?”
The other Americans in Tehran spent another long and dreary year in bondage until the day a good man, and a good friend to Canada, took the Oath as President.
Thanks to an American hero who wasn’t an American, Ken Taylor of Canada, six Americans were saved from that horror and degradation.
“Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and make perpetual Light to shine upon him.”