HOUSTON -- Former Iran hostage William Royer, reportedly ill with the flu, returned home Wednesday to a Texas welcome that intentionally was limited until he can decide how big a bash he wants.
Royer, 49, whose actual hometown is suburban West University Place, traveled with his mother Dorothy, 79, and sister, Marianne Stevens, on a Texas International Airlines flight. He reportedly had the flu and a 103-degree fever.
Texas International renamed Flight 754 'Freedom One,' painted a yellow bow on its side and arranged an honorary fly-by of the airport before landing.
Houston Mayor Jim McConn and West University Place Mayor Rufus Stanley and their wives were scheduled to meet the Royers at Houston Intercontinental Airport, which was decorated with yellow ribbons for the occasion.
Houston City Protocal Director Collette Grinstead said the mayors were to present Royer the keys to a new yellow Cadillac donated by private citizens. She said Royer also was to receive a calendar, since he said the Iranians had not let him keep up with the days.
She said Royer also was to receive silver keys to both cities and a Texas flag. The brief ceremony was to end with a motorcade escorted by police of both cities from the airport to Mrs. Royer's home.
Ms. Grinstead said citizens who wanted to honor Royer were asked to line streets and boulevards along the 30-mile route from the airport to his home. A boulevard leading from the airport was lined with yellow ribbons.
Ms. Grinstead said the city would wait until Royer decided what sort of public observance he wants. She said West University Place probably would celebrate first.
'It's up to him,' she said. 'We do not want to put him under any more pressure. He has been under 444 days of pressure and we don't want to add to that.'
'Our position is we're gonna honor the wishes of the Royer family and it's our understanding they just want some privacy at this point,' said West University Place City Manager Dick Rockenbaugh.
'After they've had a chance to settle down and get their feet on the ground, we're gonna touch base with them and see if we can do something,' he said.