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Slain Hostage In Iraq Was 'Soldier For Peace,' Longtime Friend Says

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A life dedicated to peace has come to a violent end. The cruel irony is not lost on friends of Tom Fox, the fifth American hostage to be killed in Iraq.

Images of the Virginia native and Guilford College graduate blindfolded and pleading for his life are now what his good friend can't stop seeing in his mind.

"From the very first day, we were fearful for their lives," said Fox's longtime friend, Chuck Fager, who prefers to remember Fox another way.

"He's reflective, looking into the future, but also very much where he is," said Fager, of a photo of Fox during his peace work in the Palestinian territories.

Focused and determined -- that's how Fager describes the man he's known for 20 years.

The two found their callings in working for peace -- Fager as the director of Quaker House in Fayetteville, and Fox as a member of Christian Peacemaker Teams.

Fox was in Iraq to help families displaced by war. Then, on Nov. 26, he and three other people were captured.

"They had only done good things for the people of Iraq, so, there was just no reason to hold them or to harm them," Fager said.

Iraqi police said Fox was harmed, possibly tortured. He was shot in the head and chest.

"To the kidnappers, I would say, 'I know Tom could forgive you for the evil you've done.' I hope I would be able, too," Fager said.

It's Fager's hope that the other three men will be released. He'll appeal through vigils and peace rallies and through the Web site,


-- symbolic ways to honor Fox.

"He was a soldier for peace," Fager said.

It's what he pursued in life, and now, friends say he's found it.