Truly heartbreaking. John and Diane Foley displayed a huge amount of courage as they praised their son, who was beheaded by a savage ISIS executioner in Syria, during a press conference on Aug. 20. Watch it here.
The parents of James Foley, the 40-year-old American journalist who was beheaded by a masked captor in Syria, put on a brave face and held a press conference outside their New Hampshire home on Aug. 20. John and Diane Foley paid tribute to their son and asked for other American hostages, who are being held abroad, to be released.
James Foley’s Parents Hold Press Conference
“There is no reason for this slaughter,” Diane, who also released a statement on Facebook, said. “Jim was just a symbol for our country. Jim was there to hear the truth and bear witness to the love and suffering…and they knew that,” she said referring to the militant Islamic group ISIS that claimed responsibility for killing James.
Before addressing the media, James’ parents met with President Barack Obama, ABC News notes.
“Jim had a big heart and that is what we shared with President Obama. We just pray that Jim’s death can bring our country together in a stronger way,” Diane continued.
John found it more difficult to speak on the matter. At one point, his voice cracked as he repeated James’ final words, which touched upon the fact that he wished he had spent more time with his family. In the middle of his final sentence, John had to take a moment to compose himself. (It was almost too hard to watch.)
“We’re very proud of Jim,” Diane also said. “He was a courageous, fearless journalist. A very compassionate American.”
The parents also talked about the horrific execution of their son.
“Jim would never want us to hate or be bitter… We’re praying for the strength to love like he did,” Diane said. “We are praying for mercy for the remaining hostages.”
“We’re just begging for mercy… They never hurt anybody. They were trying to help,” John added.
Of course, Diane is speaking about other hostages, including Time contributor Steven Sotloff, whom was also featured in the video posted on YouTube, titled “A Message to America,” on Aug. 19.
At the end of the video, which shows James being beheaded, ISIS threatens to kill Steven if airstrikes in Iraq do not stop. “The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision,” the ISIS executioner says.
James Foley Was Captured Once Before
Sadly for the Foleys, this isn’t the first time they’ve had to deal with this type of anguish. James was once held captive in Libya for 44 days. James’ decision to return to work, after he was freed, angered some of his siblings.
John said his son’s decision to work in conflict zones was driven by the passion for his work, which “gave him energy.”
James went missing in Syria in November 2012. He was captured and held hostage until he was beheaded.
Our thoughts go out to James’ friends and family during this difficult time and we hope to see the safe return of Steven Sotloff and other kidnapped Americans on Syrian soil.
— Chris Rogers