On 10th anniversary of abduction, Washington Post unfurls ‘Bring Austin Home’ banner

The Washington Post unveiled the new banner Tuesday that now hangs just below their sign on paper’s K Street office in downtown D.C. (WTOP/Luke Lukert)

Sunday will mark 10 years since Austin Tice, a freelance journalist who worked for multiple outlets including The Washington Post, was abducted in Syria.

Now, Tice’s family — and the Post — are sending a message to those in power that they want him brought home.

“Austin, stay strong. You know how much I love you. And we will get you home,” said Debra Tice, Austin’s mother, who was a guest when The Washington Post unveiled the new banner Tuesday that now hangs just below their sign on the paper’s K Street office in downtown D.C.

It reads, “#BringAustinHome” in large letters.

“It means so much to me. I’ve been asking for a banner,” Debra Tice told WTOP. “This is huge, and I know that The Washington Post made a huge effort to make this happen to get this banner on K Street.”

Austin Tice is from Houston and was a former Marine. He became a freelance journalist whose work had been published by The Washington Post. He disappeared in August 2012 at a checkpoint in a contested area west of Damascus, Syria, while covering the war there. 

Austin Tice’s mother, center in green, and members of The Washington Post newsroom staff, gather under the new banner as the 10th anniversary of Tice’s abduction in Syria approaches. (WTOP/Luke Lukert)

A video released weeks later showed him blindfolded and held by armed men and saying, “Oh, Jesus.” He has not been heard from since. Syria has never acknowledged holding him, but U.S. authorities believe he is still alive.

Tice’s mother said she hopes the banner will remind nearby congressman, senators and the president that Austin needs help. She said most Augusts are a flurry of stories about her son because his birthday is Aug. 11, and the anniversary of his abduction is Aug. 14. 

“But Austin is detained 365 days a year and 10 years now. So I would like to have a constant drip. Where is Austin? When are you going to bring him home? What are you doing to bring him home? Push, push, push.”  

The family provides updates on its website.

Debra Tice and her husband Marc met with President Joe Biden on May 2. She has grown incredibly frustrated since then over the lack of progress toward negotiations with the Syrian government.

“I do not understand how we have not been able to get a meeting in three months and a week,” Debra Tice said. “There is no comprehension of that for me. So nothing is going to happen without a meeting. What Austin needs is not that the parents are placated. He needs action. He needs action. And his action is diplomacy.”

In honor of the 10-year anniversary, The Washington Post will devote all ad space on digital platforms for an entire hour to awareness about Tice’s case.

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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