On Dec. 7, the families of the American hostages in Tehran came to Washington to meet with President Carter and Secretary of State Vance.
At the conclusion of that meeting, the families came to the unanimous agreement that a statement should be drawn up and given to the press.
This was done, but few newspapers published the complete text of that brief statement.
In it, the families said:
"Those we love are being held hostage in Iran.
"We wish to speak with one voice on behalf of all of them in thanking you, the American people, for your strong, steady and calm support during the last few weeks.
"Today we are asking that you let the Iranian people know that all Americans are united in calling for the release of the hostages.
"We are asking that you each send a postcard, or that a group of you send a petition, to the Embassy of Iran in Washington, saying only, 'To the Iranian people: The American people ask that the hostages be freed immediately.' Please limit your message to these few words.
"This is just a simple human plea for the release of fellow Americans and a show of support for them. Collect the signatures of as many people as you can, as soon as you can, and mail the petitions or individual postcards to: Embassy of Iran, Washington, D.C. 20008. We thank you with all our hearts.
I asked a spokesman at the State Department why the families suggested that we limit our messages to that one simple sentence, "The American people ask that the hostages be freed immediately." Was it out of concern that some Americans might otherwise write bitter and angry words that might do more harm than good? Was it to create a symbol of monolithic unity, with all Americans speaking with one voice?
The spokesman said he honestly didn't know.
"It was their statement, not ours," he said. "This is what they felt in their hearts. This is what they asked us to do. This is what we support."
If you have not yet taken the time to send a card to the Iranian Embassy, let me ask you this: Which of the activities to which you gave priority are really more important than helping to free the hostages? Postscript
District Liners who have been phoning the Iranian Embassy (797-6500) have been getting various reactions.
One reported she was given a brief but courteous hearing. Two, one male and one female, said they had "interesting discussions" with the people who answered the phone. Another reader, whose letter to me was postmarked Dec. 14, wrote, "I got through to two men and held heated discussions with both. One told me that the hostages will be allowed to be interviewed in a few days. Time will tell."
A physician, a printer and a cab driver said they were laughed at. A government employee and a legal secretary said they were cursed and then cut off.
Five who called said they were asked to state their names, addresses and phone numbers. Four of the five said they were frightened by the implications in the demand.
Please continue to phone and write. If the embassy phone is answered by somebody who wants your name, address and phone number, have a madeup name, address and phone number ready to give him. Then ask for his name, his Washington address and his telephone number. Two can play that game. Looking BACK
Having ended their season one point short and one second late, the Redskins are being criticized by some of their disappointed fans. I think the criticism is undeserved.
From the start of the season, our personnel appeared to be outclassed by opponents with more talent and experience. But the Redskins worked hard, learned fast, and made up for some of their shortcomings with a commendable combination of guts, muscle and hustle.
The Redskins went further and stayed near the top longer than we had any right to expect of them. To criticize them for losing by a point when they figured to lose by a ton is most unfair. GRIN AND BEAR IT
Smiles, a humor magazine distributed by the Lawshe Instrument Co., tells about a little boy who spent a week at a dude ranch. Upon returning home, the boy told his mother about the wonderful things he had seen.
"One day," the boy said excitedly, "they took us to see a man who makes horses."
"Are you sure?" his mother asked.
"Oh, yes," the boy said. "When we got there he had a horse nearly finished.He was just nailing on the feet."