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Former hostage relives situation

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"All of a sudden, we hear Mrs. Blanton yelling outside. We didn't know what was going on," said Whit Jordan. "All of a sudden, we hear Mrs. Blanton yelling outside. We didn't know what was going on," said Whit Jordan.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

For a Huntsville man, the hostage situation in Midland City brings back chilling memories.

Back in 1988, he and a hundred other students were held hostage at West End Christian School in Tuscaloosa. And 25 years later, a former child hostage shares his story and the difficult road he said still lies ahead for little Ethan.

For Whit Jordan, February 2, 1988 started off just like any other school day, but that would soon change.

He said a student came into his classroom telling the teacher, Mrs. Blanton, that someone wanted to see her, so she stepped outside.

"All of a sudden, we hear Mrs. Blanton yelling outside. We didn't know what was going on," said Jordan.

That is when James Harvey, strapped with a machine gun, and another man burst into his classroom. He proceeded to tie up Blanton.

"She said, 'Do exactly what they tell you to do,'" said Jordan.

He said Harvey addressed the terrified students, telling them why he was doing all this - that he was concerned with the treatment of homeless veterans. By this time, many of the students were crying.

"I didn't know what to do think. This guy is in here with guns, and I know it's a bad situation, but I don't know what to do," he said.

He said the students gathered in a little circle as negotiators, in the classroom at this point, tried to reason with Harvey.

After 12 hours of negotiations, a fake pardon by then Governor Hunt and the belief that he would be able to hold a national news conference to vent his political ideas prompted Harvey to turn over his guns.

The memories of those 12 hours as a hostage are still with Whit Jordan.

"It goes through your mind, 'What if?' They even told us you'll never be able to get rid of that," he said.

Now a father to an 8-year-old son, he said he knows exactly what little Ethan will go through in the next days, weeks, and months.

"He's going to want his parents to be real close to him at all times. He's going to be scared to go back to school. He's going to go through some things that are tough on him just because of that fear factor," said Jordan.

Fortunately, no one was hurt in the Tuscaloosa hostage case. James Harvey is currently in the Limestone Correction Facility. He is up for parole February 26th.

As for Whit Jordan, he served 27 months of duty in Iraq. He currently works for City Lumber in Huntsville and is set to marry his fiancée next month in Jamaica. They will continue to reside in Huntsville.

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