West Point Cadets Welcome Former Iranian Hostages

WEST POINT, N.Y. (January 21, 2011)--A reunited group of former Iranian hostages got a rousing welcome Friday from West Point cadets 30 years after they returned to U.S. soil after nearly 450 days in captivity.

Thousands of cadets cheered on more than a dozen former hostages who are visiting the U.S. Military Academy for a weekend reunion.

Former hostage Bruce Laingen called the welcome overwhelming.

The former hostages will talk to cadets, tour the grounds and socialize.

Also at the private event are veterans of the ill-fated military rescue mission that ended in a helicopter crash that killed eight U.S. servicemen.

Fifty-two hostages were released Jan. 20, 1981 after 444 days of captivity.

They then flew into New York's Hudson Valley, where thousands cheered as they rode buses to West Point for time with their families.

Iranian students took dozens of hostages in 1979 after the U.S. refused to deport the deposed shah, who was in the United States for cancer treatment.

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