By: Sharon Aron Baron
When Doug Levinson last saw his father, he was only 13 years-old and five-foot-four. Nine years later at six-feet-four, he said if his father was back, they would both the same height.
Wednesday marks nine years the family of hostage Robert “Bob” Levinson has not seen their husband, father, and grandfather, and on Saturday, the family held a rally attended by several hundred people to bring attention to his cause.
“My father was the smartest man I’ve ever known, bar none,” said Doug Levinson.
He said that his six older siblings had the benefits of his teachings and were able to see him as a mentor and not just a parent and were lucky enough to grow into adults by their side.
“That experience was stolen from me,” he said.
He credits his mother and siblings in helping to raise him, and next month he will be graduating from Florida State University.
Nine years ago, former FBI agent Levinson who was a private investigator for the CIA disappeared on March 9, on the Iranian island of Kish. The last proof of life was in 2010 when the family received a video, and later pictures of him shackled and dressed in an orange jumpsuit.
The rally on Saturday held in the courtyard at the Center of the Performing Arts, had members of his family, former FBI agents, and politicians who spoke about their recollections of Levinson and calling for his release.
U.S. Rep Ted Deutch said that when news broke in January that Americans were being returned from Iran, he was hopeful that finally, Bob Levinson would be going home. Unfortunately, he wasn’t among those who were released, and because of that, the fight continues. Deutch urged local and national politicians to keep Levinson’s name out front and tell the Iranians that they will not rest until he comes home.
“Bob Levinson isn’t just a member of our community in Coral Springs. He isn’t just a Broward County resident, Bob Levinson is missing which means that a piece of our community isn’t whole. It also means a piece of our country isn’t whole,” said Deutch.
Deutch urged audience members on social media to tweet to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at @HassanRouhani and use the hashtag #WhatAboutBob.
“We have to view Bob Levinson as a member of our own family because he is. Because when an American citizen is being held and has been held for nine years, everyone should feel, that in our hearts, and in our guts and should be as outraged as all of us here are.”