ACCESSION NUMBER:208679 FILE ID:TX-503 DATE:01/03/92 TITLE: *TXT503 01/03/92 (01/03/92) TEXT: *TXT503 01/03/92 HEDITORIAL: HEROES MURDERED BY TERRORISTS HONORED (420) N(Following is an editorial, broadcast by the Voice of America January 3, reflecting the views of the U.S. government.) TThis past week, the United States honored two men who gave their lives in the service of their country: William Buckley and William Richard Higgins. Both died after being kidnapped and tortured by Iranian-sponsored terrorists in Lebanon. In ceremonies held on December 30 at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, Vice President Dan Quayle said the United States owes the two men "a debt of gratitude that we can never repay." Robert Gates, director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, said William Buckley was "a man of great but quiet courage" who asked to be assigned to Lebanon after the 1983 terrorist bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut killed several of his colleagues. Buckley was serving in Beirut when he was kidnapped in March 1984. Islamic Jihad terrorists claimed to have killed him in October 1985, but other former hostages held in Lebanon say he died several months earlier. Islamic Jihad is a front for Hizballah, the Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization that operates mainly in Beirut, the Syrian-controlled Bekka Valley, and other parts of Lebanon. U.S. Marine Colonel Higgins was kidnapped in February 1988 while serving as head of a U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon. Another 1izballah front -- the Organization of the Oppressed on Earth -- claimed it executed Higgins in July 1989. But he may have died several months earlier after being tortured. Colonel Higgins' widow, a major in the U.S. Marine Corps, warned Americans not to be cowed by the terrorists who killed her husband. She said, "If we forgive, if we forget, if we thank these savages, then we are merely inviting them, at a time and place they will select, to kill again. Shame on us if we do." U.S. Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney called Higgins a man of peace. Cheney noted that the U.N. group Higgins had served with was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize while he was in captivity. "The fact is," said Secretary Cheney, "terrorism can destroy buildings and lives, but it cannot destroy the spirit of free men and women." Cheney made it clear that the United States will not forget the crimes committed by terrorists against Colonel Higgins, William Buckley and other Americans. Secretary Cheney said, "We will hold those who bear responsibility for these murders to account." NNNN .