American journalist Peter Theo Curtis, recently back on US soil, said in his first public remarks today that he was overwhelmed by the people who were behind efforts to secure his release from al-Nusra Front. Curtis, who was freed Sunday after 22 months in captivity, wore sandals and a gray T-shirt in his first public appearance. "I have learned bit by bit that there have been hundreds of people—brave, determined, and big-hearted people all over the world—working for my release," he said outside his mother's home in Cambridge, Mass. "They've been working for two years on this."
Curtis said he "had no idea that so much effort was being expended on my behalf" and that he's grateful for the many people, including strangers, who have welcomed him back since his return. "I suddenly remembered how good the American people are," he said. While Curtis' mother, Nancy, reiterated last night that she was "overwhelmed with relief" that her son had been returned to her, she also referenced her heartbreak about James Foley's execution. "My heart goes out to the other families who are suffering," she said. Meanwhile, US freelance journalist Austin Tice of Houston disappeared in Syria in August 2012 and is still believed to be held by the Syrian government. (Read more Peter Theo Curtis stories.)