Three hundred miles. That’s how far 74-year-old Bill Brady drove Monday to listen to former Associated Press reporter and current UF lecturer Terry Anderson.
Exactly 30 years ago Monday, Anderson was pulled out of his vehicle by Hezbollah Shiite captors in Beirut, Lebanon. He spent nearly seven years of his life as a hostage.
The UF College of Journalism and Communications and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service hosted “Seven Years a Hostage with Terry Anderson” in Pugh Hall.
That day in 1985, Brady picked up Time Magazine and read about Anderson’s capture while in a dentist office in San Francisco.
“I was just so taken back by the torture he was going through — solitary confinement, handcuffed and the fact that his wife was expecting,” Brady said.
He wrote to Hezbollah when he got home.
“Here’s me. Here’s my address. Here’s my phone number. I’m an American, just like Terry Anderson is. I have a job, just like Terry Anderson. Why don’t you just take me in exchange?” Brady pleaded in his letter.
Brady received only a muffled phone call from Beirut after he sent his letter. He finally met Anderson on Monday when he spoke to a full audience about his experiences in captivity and his quest to make his life memorable.
“As hostages, we tried to get them to understand we had not committed any crimes,” Anderson said.
Now, as a professor, Anderson educates aspiring journalists and warns them of potential risks.
“You take risks for a purpose,” he said. “Our purpose is to find and tell the truth.”