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James Foley

James Foley's 'Haunted' Parents Say He Was a Martyr for Freedom

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The parents of journalist James Foley said Wednesday that they are "haunted" by the cruelty of his death but believe he had accepted his fate before an Islamic militant beheaded him. "We believe he was a martyr," Foley's father John said, standing with his wife Diane outside their home in Rochester, N.H. "A martyr for freedom."

The couple said they learned of Foley's death "like everyone else" — with news that the group ISIS had killed him and posted a video — but they did not watch the gruesome footage. "It's horrific," said John Foley. "People can die in lots of different ways but this was the most horrific and it haunts me how much pain he was in and how cruel this method of execution is."

"It testified to his courage. He was courageous to the end and I think he accepted his situation and I think he accepted God's faith in him and his faith in God," the father said. His wife added, "It reminds of us Jesus. Jesus was goodness, love — and Jim was becoming more and more that."

The parents said they had just spoken with President Obama and pleaded with him to find a way to save the lives of captive journalist Steven Sotloff, who has also been threatened by ISIS, and any other prisoners. "How long are we going to tolerate this?" John Foley said, referring to atrocities by terrorists. His wife broke down in tears as she asked the public to pray for Obama. "Jim was a great American and he believed in the very best of this country," she said.

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— Tracy Connor