We are happy for the other families. But once again, Bob Levinson has been left behind. We are devastated.
We are happy for the other families. But once again, Bob Levinson has been left behind. We are devastated.
By David Levinson
Updated 7:06 PM ET, Fri June 19, 2015
Son of American detainee in Iran pleas for release
Son of American detainee in Iran pleas for release 02:47
Bob Levinson has been missing since 2007
David Levinson: I know one day we will see each other again
“David Levinson, is one of Bob and Christine Levinson’s seven children. Bob Levinson was detained while visiting Kish Island, Iran, in March 2007. The views expressed are David’s own.”
(CNN)About 10 years ago, as a college freshman in an Atlanta university and 600 miles from home, I was in trouble. For the first time in my life, I was stuck in a deep depression, due both to academic struggles and personal relationships. I hadn’t developed any friendships, was cut from a number of activities I hoped to be involved with, and, of course, I was homesick.
I remember the voice message I left for my Dad, telling him I hated it. I hated school, I hated the challenge, and I hated life. I told him I was scared — fearful that I had made the wrong choice of schools; that my life was now heading on a downward spiral that I could no longer control.
I expected a follow-up call. Maybe even a care package. Instead, the next day, my father showed up at my college dormitory, uncharacteristically driving a rented, flashy two-door sports car.
“Hey Davey,” he said as he picked me up. “Like my ‘ride’?”
I laughed, and told him he might as well have been wearing a Superman cape. I needed him that day, more than I think even he knew. We spent the day together and he bought me lunch and some much-needed groceries. But his biggest contributions that day were his listening skills and his advice.
“This is a phase,” he said. “A tough phase of life. It will pass. And you will be stronger from it.”
A little over a year later, my father disappeared. While traveling on Kish Island, Iran, he was detained and lost all communication with my family. Although we haven’t been able to speak to him since March of 2007, we have been a witness to his suffering. Several years ago, we received a video of him, looking broken and beaten, pleading for help from the United States government.
Less than a year later, we received photos of him in an orange jumpsuit, holding up messagesmocking our helpless attempts to return him home. When I first saw these photos, I realized how unrecognizable my father had become; that same confident, smiling man who I shared lunch with that day 10 years ago had been transformed completely. It was clear that on a daily level, he has been living through hell.
A few weeks ago, my brother, Dan, spoke in front of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs,imploring them to do everything they could to help our Dad, especially as negotiations remain ongoing for a nuclear deal between the United States and Iran.
“Crunch time,” my brother called it. I couldn’t agree more, but for some additional reasons. This October, I’ll become the first of my father’s three sons to get married, as I’ve found a partner who I can only describe as the woman of my dreams.
It would be amazing to have my father front and center for the ceremony, as he has already missed walking two of my sisters down the aisle for their weddings. But most of all, I just want him to be able to meet my fiancee. I know he would love her, that he would see how much I love her, and that he would share a few words of advice to guide me through the nerves of wedding preparation.
I believe in my father, and I know how determined he is to get home. There is no doubt in my mind that one day he will succeed, that one day we will see each other again and he will meet my future wife. She is hopeful for that day as well, and longs to meet the man I am constantly trying to emulate each day.
In the meantime, on this Father’s Day, just like every Father’s Day for the past eight years, I’ll relive that day in Atlanta and reflect on how lucky I have been to know my father, how fortunate I have been to learn from him, and how proud I am to be his son. I don’t need him to throw on a Superman cape or drive a fancy sports car to my wedding in October — just being there will be heroic enough.
Until that day, here’s wishing you a Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
We are grateful to President Obama for raising Bob’s case today and to the FBI for recently increasing the reward to $5 million. Both of these actions give us renewed hope. Bob is the center of our family. In the name of all our children and grandchildren, I again implore those who are holding Bob to show mercy and restore him to us.
Statement by the President on U.S. Citizens Detained or Missing in Iran
The spirit of family is deeply woven into all of the rich cultural traditions of the Nowruz holiday. It is a time for reuniting and rejoicing with loved ones and sharing hopes for the new year. Today, as families across the world gather to mark this holiday, we remember those American families who are enduring painful separations from their loved ones who are imprisoned or went missing in Iran.
Saeed Abedini of Boise, Idaho has spent two and a half years detained in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs. He must be returned to his wife and two young children, who needlessly continue to grow up without their father.
Amir Hekmati of Flint, Michigan has been imprisoned in Iran on false espionage charges for over three and a half years. His family, including his father who is gravely ill, has borne the pain of Amir’s absence for far too long.
Jason Rezaian of Marin County, California, an Iranian government credentialed reporter for the Washington Post, has been unjustly held in Iran for nearly eight months on vague charges. It is especially painful that on a holiday centered on ridding one’s self of the difficulties of the past year, Jason’s mother and family will continue to carry the heavy burden of concern regarding Jason’s health and well-being into the new year.
And finally, we recently marked yet another anniversary since Robert Levinson went missing on Kish Island. His family has now endured the hardship of his disappearance for over eight years.
At this time of renewal, compassion, and understanding, I reiterate my commitment to bringing our citizens home and call on the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to immediately release Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati and Jason Rezaian and to work cooperatively with us to find Robert Levinson so that they all can be safely reunited with their families as soon as possible.
In honor of the familial spirit so strongly enshrined within this holiday and for the Abedini, Hekmati, Rezaian, and Levinson families, I hope this new spring is filled with joyous moments for us all with all of our loved ones by our sides.
From the family of Robert Levinson –
Robert Levinson has been held hostage for eight years – since March 9, 2007, when he was last seen on Kish Island, Iran. He is the longest-held hostage in American history. Tomorrow, March 10th, is his 67th birthday.
Every year on this date we remind the world that Bob’s case is still not resolved and that this husband, father and grandfather is still not home where he belongs. But we, his family, have been reminded every single day of the past eight years because of the enormous hole in our lives that will only be filled when Bob is back with us. We need to see him, hear his voice, and hold him. To help the world remember this extraordinary human being, here is a link to the hostage video we received in 2010 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=knjx0E2xLc0 and photographs we received in 2011 http://www.fbi.gov/levinson. We have heard nothing since. We urge the governments of Iran and the United States to work together to resolve this case and send Bob home, so he can live the rest of his life quietly, surrounded by the family that loves him.
2,467 days. Seven years ago today, Bob Levinson was abducted while on Kish Island, Iran. He still remains held as a hostage.
Our sister was able to save a voicemail that Dad left on her cell phone from January 2007, two months before he was taken.
We are sharing this with all of you today, on the seventh anniversary of his kidnapping.
The voicemail speaks for itself as you will hear how it encompasses everything that is good and right about our amazing dad.
Please continue to be outraged that he is still being held. This is humanity at its worst.
Bob Levinson has devoted his entire career to serving our country. He deserves better than this.
3,414,240 minutes held hostage.
In 83 days, Robert Levinson will become the longest held hostage in United States history.
I can’t even fathom that it has been six and a half years since my father, Robert (Bob) Levinson, was kidnapped as he was leaving Kish Island, Iran, after a business meeting. I remember the day that I found out he was gone. I received a call from my brother David, who was home from college on Spring Break. It was Dad’s 59th birthday, Saturday, March 10th, 2007.
David had called to find out if I had spoken to Mom that day. It was one of those rare days that I had not yet spoken to her on the phone. I could tell that something was wrong from his voice. I told him no and I asked him why he wanted to know. He said that Mom was really quiet – unusually so – and seemed to be acting a bit different. He then told me that she had gone to a family friend’s home and she was unsure when she might be home. She never did this without an explanation. I then had Dave put my sister Sue on the phone. She said the same thing and that she was worried but she was trying to keep it together for our younger sister and brother, Samantha and Doug. I told Sue and Dave that they were doing the right thing and that to keep calm for them. None of us knew what was going on, but we knew it had to do with Dad. I told them to call me if they found out anything.
I immediately hung up the phone and called my husband, Randy. Randy had just left to meet up with friends for dinner. I remember my heart racing, I was physically shaking, and I said to him, in between sobs, “Please come home. Something has happened to Dad.” Without hesitation, he said, “I am on my way.”
This was not the way it was supposed to go. All seven of us Levinson children were preparing to meet our parents in Orlando, Florida, to visit Disney World in honor of Dad’s 59th birthday. I had made Dad a gift. I had painted him a picture frame at a local pottery place to commemorate the trip. It was red in color with little Mickey Mouse Ears all over it. It said, “It’s my 59th Birthday and I am going to Disney World!”
I still have that empty frame, waiting to put a picture in it to give to my father.
The last time that I spoke to my dad was on February 28, 2007. My son was then just four months old and I called my mom’s cell phone; I was completely run down and exhausted from lack of sleep due to the baby. My mom was actually driving Dad home from the hospital as he had just had a colonoscopy. I was upset on the phone and, after I spoke to Mom, she handed the phone to Dad, who always seems to have a way of calming his kids down. He said, “Stephanie, listen to your mother. She knows what she is talking about. She has had seven kids.” So even though he had just had a medical procedure done, my father wanted to talk to me and reassure me that everything was going to be okay. I won’t ever forget that conversation.
Today, six and a half years later, so much has changed.
I now have two children, an almost seven year old son, Ryan, and a four and a half year old daughter, Grace. My father has met and held Ryan, but he does not know that Ryan is severely affected by autism. Our family struggles greatly because of this due to Ryan’s difficulty in communicating and his many medical issues. Ryan is the center of my world and every day I fight for him to get medical attention, services, and therapies. My dad will be so proud of the way Ryan has overcome more obstacles than I can count, and how he continues to do so every day.
Grace knows of her Grandpa Bob from pictures and she has seen his hostage video. She makes sure to pray for him every night by saying, “Please God, take care of Grandpa Bob and help him get out of the desert.” She asks me questions about him: “What if Grandpa Bob doesn’t know who I am? How will he know me?” I once made reference to the fact that “bad guys were keeping Grandpa Bob from coming home.” She then asked me, with some trepidation in her voice, “Are there bad guys in real life?”
Unfortunately, there are bad guys in real life and they are holding my father. The thing is, I don’t know why they continue to hold him, but not ask for anything in exchange for him. Our father is not dangerous, he has not committed any crimes, and he has a heart of gold. They people holding him must know that by now.
Most days, I feel guilty. I feel guilty that I wake up in my own comfortable bed. I feel guilty that I get to get up, have a cup of coffee and choose what I want for breakfast. My children wake up and I have the freedom to hug and smother them with kisses. I get to kiss my husband good bye before he leaves for work. I am free to watch television, go to the gym and grocery store, and connect with friends and family on Facebook.
My father, Bob Levinson, has none of these freedoms. He is sitting in a cell somewhere with no outside contact. He cannot communicate with his family, not even with a telephone call. He cannot choose his breakfast – in fact, I don’t even know if he receives breakfast. He has no basic human rights.
I know that my father is still staying strong, but how long can someone last under these conditions? I worry about him every day.
Since I was a little girl, I have always idolized my father. He is really the most amazing man. I have always felt as though he was meant for great things; that he would change the world. I trust that this whole situation is part of God’s plan and that it will all work out, but to be honest, I am getting very impatient with God.
Bob Levinson will become the longest American hostage on November 26, 2013, surpassing Terry Anderson with this milestone. We do not want this to happen. Every day that Bob Levinson is held captive is another day that he misses out on so many family milestones. He has two grandchildren on the way, who need to know their Grandpa Bob.
If this were your father, grandfather, husband or friend, you would be screaming from the roof tops to anyone who would listen. I feel like our family’s screams have gone unheard these past six and a half years. It is time to pull out the mega phones. It is long past time. We must tell the world that we won’t stand for one of our own to be held hostage.
It is a time for outrage: Bob Levinson must be allowed to return to his family.
Dad, if you are able to read this, know that we love you, we miss you, and we will never give up looking for you so that we can bring you home.
Statement from the Family of Robert Levinson, Held Hostage for 2000 Days
Tomorrow, August 29, 2012, will mark 2,000 days that Robert “Bob” Levinson – 64 years of age, husband of 38 years, father of seven children and grandfather of two – has been held hostage after disappearing while visiting Kish Island, Iran, in March 2007. Two thousand days since Bob has heard the voices of his children and his wife, and since we have heard his. Two thousand days since he has worn the clothes in his closet – which we are sure no longer fit him – and 2,000 days since he has slept on his side of the bed. We ask ourselves how is it possible that someone – especially someone 6’4″ and (then) 225 pounds – disappears without a trace.
It is time for Bob to be released.
Bob is now the second-longest-held hostage in American history. Only Terry Anderson who was held as part of the Lebanon Hostage Crisis was in captivity longer.
Bob has been held four and a half times longer than the Americans held during in the Iranian Hostage Crisis, a group of people caught up in the middle of political turmoil, and more than a month longer than the Americans kidnapped by FARC guerillas and released in 2008. This is not a milestone any human being would want to achieve. We love and miss Bob more than words can say, and we desperately worry about his health with each day that passes.
Bob was last seen leaving his hotel on Kish Island on March 9, 2007. Our family received a proof of life video (Bob Levinson Proof of Life Video)almost two years ago, but we have heard nothing from Bob’s captors even after making repeated pleas for his release, which have been met with silence, including this past December and again in March. We don’t know where Bob is or how he is. Once again, we beg Bob’s captors to tell us what we need to do to get Bob home. We are beyond ourselves with worry. It is time for him to be released.
Bob is getting older with each day that passes and his health is failing. He suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure and gout, along with countless other unknown health issues a person would suffer from while being held in captivity for five and a half years. We need to bring him home now so that he can spend whatever time he has left surrounded by the people who love him, not in captivity.
We will not be silent. It is time for Bob Levinson to be released so that his suffering and ours can end.
For more information about the case of Robert Levinson, please refer to the family’s Facebook page Help Bob Levinson or the website helpboblevinson.com. The FBI has offered a $1 million rewardto bring Bob home.
It is unbelievable to us that five years have passed since our last contact with Bob.
Bob was 59 years old when he was abducted: He will be 64 tomorrow, his birthday. Bob is getting older, as are we. We are deeply concerned about his health. He suffers from hypertension, diabetes and gout – all of which get worse with age.
Life is passing, yet, wherever Bob is, we know he has no life. For us, his family, all we focus on is getting through each day and doing everything we can to find him. Not knowing where he is, whether he is ok and how to get him home is complete agony. Here in this country, most of us would be filled with concern if someone we love were to drop out of sight for just 24 hours. For us, it has been 1827 days – or 43,848 hours. And we have been counting every one of them.
On December 9, 2011, the family released a video (Link Here) showing Bob to be alive when it was recorded and we publicly pled with his captors to tell us what we need to do to get Bob home. We have heard nothing. We are at a loss for what to do.
To the people holding Bob: We ask once again that you please – please – let us know what you want from us. Perhaps you are parents, or grandparents, as Bob is. Perhaps you are the head of a large family of sons and daughters, as Bob is. We beg you to show him the mercy you would want shown to you if you were in his place, and allow him to return home to his family. We are all just human beings.
— March 9, 2012
Christine Levinson and the Levinson children: Susan Levinson, Stephanie (Levinson) Curry, Sarah (Levinson) Moriarty, Daniel Levinson, David Levinson, Samantha Levinson and Douglas Levinson
Fifth Anniversary of Robert Levinson’s Disappearance
Hillary Rodham Clinton Secretary of State
March 6, 2012
This Friday marks the five-year anniversary of the disappearance of U.S. citizen Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent who disappeared during a business trip to Kish Island, Iran in 2007. Today, we reaffirm our commitment to locating Mr. Levinson and bringing him home safely. This remains a priority for the United States, and we welcome the assistance of our international partners in this investigation. We also call on the Government of Iran to uphold its promise of assistance and help safely return Mr. Levinson to the United States.
Over the past year, we have had reason to believe that he is being held in southwest Asia, so the FBI is launching a public information campaign in that region and announcing a $1 million reward for information on Mr. Levinson’s whereabouts that could lead to his safe return. Anyone who may have information about this case should contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The U.S. Government is committed to Mr. Levinson’s safe return and we will continue to use all available resources until he is home and reunited with his family.