Family of Beheaded Hostage Thank Community

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Members of Eugene Armstrong's family say they are thankful for the outpouring of community support and condolences from across the nation following his slaying in Iraq.

Armstrong, a former Hillsdale-area resident who was beheaded Sept. 20, was honored Tuesday at a memorial service attended by about 200 people. Afterward, some family members spoke with the Hillsdale Daily News about Armstrong.

“We appreciate the community support, and the support from all over the country and world,'' said Brother Tom Armstrong. Frank Armstrong, another brother, said the public service was welcome, in spite of his family's wish for privacy. “We wanted this memorial, and the city did a fine job,” he said. “We want Jack to be remembered.”

Armstrong, 52, was taken hostage and was shown being executed Islamic militants on a video posted on a Web site. The militants also beheaded Armstrong's colleague, Jack Hensley of Georgia. A Briton, Kenneth Bigley, still was being held.

The three men, who were working for the construction firm Gulf Services Co., were kidnapped from a house they shared in an upscale Baghdad neighborhood.