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Glass’ Father Says Son Loved Lebanon

June 19, 1987

PALOS VERDES ESTATES, Calif. (AP) _ Charles M. Glass, the latest American to be kidnapped in Lebanon, loved that country and loved being a reporter, his father says.

″He loved the people. That’s all he talked about,″ said Charles Glass, 66, a Gardena attorney.

″He was aware that there was some danger. He’s not dumb,″ the father said Thursday. ″I was aware of it. We never talked about it.″

A former ABC News correspondent in the Middle East, the younger Glass, 36, was kidnapped at midday Wednesday in a suburb of west Beirut. He was traveling in the chauffeur-driven car of the Lebanese defense minister’s son, who also was seized, officials said.

Glass was gathering information for a book he was writing about the Middle East. He had covered some of the region’s most important stories, including the the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 in June 1985 and the suicide-bombing of the U.S. Marines compound in Beirut in October 1983.

Although he initially planned to become a lawyer, the younger Glass ″just sort of fell into″ journalism while studying in Beirut, his father said.

″He loved being a reporter and obviously he went for it,″ the elder Glass said.

He said he believes his son’s love for the Middle East stemmed from his late mother, whose parents were Lebanese.

Glass said his first wife, Joan Sawaya, died in an accident when their son was 16. But it was obvious that the younger Glass was influenced by her and has long been fascinated by Lebanon and its people, his father said.

The reporter had faced down a previous near-kidnapping, but his father said he recounted the story lightly and never talked about the horrible things he saw.

The incident occurred while Glass was on his way to dinner with a BBC correspondent. They were stopped by three armed men who told the two that they were being taken into custody for questioning.

″Charlie started making a lot of noise,″ his father said. ″But the reason he was telling the story was because of the punch line. The guy from BBC was pointing at him and saying, ’He’s an American and I’m not.‴

The gunmen left them alone, the father said.

After obtaining his undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of Southern California in 1978, the younger Glass enrolled at the American University in Beirut to pursue a master’s degree in the same subject.

He worked on an ABC News special report about Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and later covered Sadat’s funeral. His biggest scoop, however, was his exclusive interview with the pilot of TWA Flight 847 on the tarmac at Beirut’s airport, conducted while a kidnapper held a gun to the pilot’s head.

Glass said his son, who grew up in the Los Angeles area, is married and lives in London with his wife and five children. He said he last saw his son during a visit to London last Christmas.

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