The U.S. Marine once feared beheaded in Iraq said Sunday he was thankful to be home and asked people to pray for all hostages.

Wassef Ali Hassoun (search ) returned to his brother's suburban home Saturday evening, but did not speak publicly.

On Sunday, Hassoun made a brief statement on the front lawn of the house before rejoining his family inside. He thanked family and friends, and those who helped him since his return.

"Having experienced being in captivity, I ask all the people of the world to join me and pray for the safe release of all hostages," he said. "People who already know me and those of you getting to know me, know that I'm proud to be a Muslim Arab-American serving with honor."

Hassoun added a "semper fi" — the Marine Corps motto meaning "always faithful" in Latin — before returning to the house.

Hassoun, 24, failed to report for duty June 20, and videotape later surfaced showing him apparently kidnapped, blindfolded with a sword hanging over his head.

He later turned up at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. It remains unclear how he traveled from Iraq to Lebanon, where he was born and still has relatives.

He has denied that he was a deserter.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (search ) has been looking into Hassoun's disappearance.

Hassoun was flown to Camp Lejeune (search ) in North Carolina on July 20.