But there was another part of the storming of the embassy that went under the radar at the time. Six Americans managed to escape and had to find refuge in a city that had gone mad for American blood. Where could they turn?
They turned to the Canadian embassy and its ambassador, Ken Taylor. Mr. Taylor gave shelter to the six and worked on a plan to get them out of the country. In fact, he was the person who President Jimmy Carter called the "main hero" of their eventual rescue.
As The Washington Post wrote this week:
When the U.S. embassy in Tehran was stormed by Islamist students and militants, six American diplomats escaped and found sanctuary in the homes of Taylor and his first secretary John Sheardown. In addition to shielding the Americans from Iranian capture, Taylor also played a crucial role in plotting their escape.
Working with CIA officials and Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark, Taylor obtained for the Americans six Canadian passports containing forged Iranian visas that ultimately allowed them to board a flight to Switzerland. He undertook all these covert actions at a high personal risk, as he and his team would have been taken hostage themselves in the case of discovery by the Islamist militants.Thanks largely to Mr. Taylor's efforts, the six Americans made it home safely and did not have to join their 50 colleagues in their long captivity.
Ken Taylor died this week at the age of 81. Condolences to his family and loved ones, and may he rest in well-deserved peace.