JONESBORO -- Johnny Van Horn
two sons expect to be back home in Jonesboro tonight.They have spent the past week in London at a hotel just a block from one of the subway bombings.
"I've been gone two weeks and ready to get back; looking forward to returning home ... just tired of motel rooms," Van Horn
wrote in an e-mail response to a Sun reporter's inquiry.He
emphasized the desire to return home "has nothing to do with the events of the past two days."
While in London they stayed at the Novotel London Tower Bridge Hotel within two blocks of the Aldgate subway station that was bombed, Van Horn
"It's one stop over from the subway station outside the entrance to the hotel," he
added."We have walked by it many times as we were sightseeing around the financial district; we have used the subway system many times as a means of getting around London.
"We went through King's Cross both to and from Edinburgh, which was the location of one of the bombs, so we were familiar with it, too.King's Cross is the main train station for connections to and from Scotland." His
two sons, Jonathan
, 22, and Hunter, 13, were in the hotel when the bombings occurred. Van Horn, a retired criminal investigator for the Internal Revenue Service, said he was attending an International Corporate Governance Conference (ICGN) meetings at Guildhall when the terror attacks occurred.
Guildhall is "one of the safest buildings" in London, Van Horn
quoted one of the conference organizers as saying.Van Horn
noted that security at Guildhall was tight, with two forms of identification required.All packages were scanned, and conference participants had to "go through a secured series of checkpoints before entering the area," he
"I talked and met with several people on the street; they were very calm and trying to continue on with what they had to get done for the day; on my way [to his
hotel] on the day of the bombings, the streets were deserted much like other areas of New York probably were after 9-11," Van Horn
"My law enforcement training and experience kept me calm as I had talked to Jonathan
and Hunter immediately after they informed us of what had happened, so I knew they were safe.
...Van Horn has been attending Arkansas State University for the past two years and graduated in May with a master's degree in business administration.He has been teaching accounting at ASU as a graduate assistant and is pursuing a career in corporate governance.He said he joined ICGN to get research ideas for a future Ph.D. thesis on corporate governance. He
was impressed by the British resolve, quoting an older man who "stated the British had experience with this type of thing during World War II and the current generation had heard stories from their parents and were prepared to react with determination and be calm." Van Horn
sons "both reacted very calmly and just went about town after the bombing, observing without overreacting or being scared to go out of the hotel and continued sightseeing ...We let all of our family know we were OK.
"Last week I was in Edinburgh to play golf at St. Andrew's when the [G-8 Summit] riots started," Van Horn