We Remember Former POW Jeremiah Denton, Jr. and Weekend Links
We Remember Former POW Jeremiah Denton, Jr. and Weekend Links
Jeremiah Denton passed away over the weekend, in Virginia, at the age of 89. He was an American son; an aviator who went to war, becoming a POW for eight long years in North Vietnam. He returned a hero. True, honorable, unbroken.
Put on TV by his captors, Jeremiah Denton managed to share with the world an incredibly clever bit of intel – unbeknown to his captors. While being “interviewed” by them for propaganda purposes, he blinked out in Morse code “T-O-R-T-U-R-E” while he was talking. This very courageous and ingenious action gave the first confirmation to our US military leaders back home that American POW’s were indeed being tortured. That Jeremiah Denton was able to do this, given his dangerous and dire circumstances, was nothing short of heroic. You really need to watch the video below.
So here’s the backstory of Jeremiah Denton.
Shot down on July 18, 1965, Navy A-6 pilot Jerry Denton assumed leadership of the POW’s in the infamous Hanoi Hilton, a role he would share with fellow Class of 1947 Naval Academy graduate, future Admiral Jim Stockdale and Air Force Ace and future General Robbie Risner.
Hanoi’s most vicious interrogators couldn’t break Jeremiah Denton. After being tortured for weeks in preparation for that televised 1966 “T-O-R-T-U-R-E” interview, he still refused to parrot back to the world his enraged captors’ anti-American script. During his videotaped inquisition he declared: “whatever the position of my government is, I support it fully… and I will as long as I live.” I’m quite certain he paid a huge price for that moment of bravery.
“When Denton recalls his trials in Vietnam, his eyes are often closed. For two and a half years, he spent 17 to 18 hours a day in irons. Alone, in a coffin-sized cell, he had to remain on a 47-inch-by-47-inch square during the day. It was just long enough to walk two paces. At night, he slept on a stone slab. “It wasn’t the Hilton,” Denton said. There were no windows. Just a 10-watt bulb, roaches and spiders the size of tarantulas. “Jesus was with me all the time,” said Denton, who is a devout Catholic. His proudest moment was conquering his claustrophobia. Denton said during that time, he was in an “extremely intellectual and spiritual state.” He said it is amazing what the mind can accomplish, if given the opportunity.
He once derived the formula for centrifugal force in his head, something he couldn’t do with pencil and paper at the U.S. Naval Academy. Although the other captives had designated Denton “president of the optimist club,” there were times he prayed to die. He didn’t want to — couldn’t — endure another minute of despair. Once, when Denton refused to tell guards how the Americans communicated with each other, he was tortured for 10 days and nights. By the 10th night, he couldn’t think anymore. He couldn’t pray anymore.
Denton surrendered. Not to the guards, but to God. “It was a total surrender,” he said. “If there was anymore to do, you will do it,” he told God. “That instant, I felt zero pain,” he said. “I felt the greatest comfort and reassurance in life that I haven’t felt since.””
THIS is American Exceptionalism and TOTAL Badassery and evidence of a really BIG God.
In 1967, the North Vietnamese authorities removed Denton and ten other “highly subversive POW ringleaders” from the Hanoi Hilton and exiled them to an infamous prison nicknamed “Alcatraz.” For two years, they survived in solitary 4′ x 9′ concrete cells for roughly 23 hours and 50 minutes per day. Only the encouraging messages, using the “tap code“, they sent each other through their walls sustained them during the horrible isolation, torture, and near-starvation. These amazing men became the legendary “Alcatraz Eleven.” Also among them were Medal of Honor recipient Jim Stockdale (mentioned above), current Congressman Sam Johnson, and Rear Admiral Bob Shumaker.
Jeremiah Denton, himself, was kept in solitary confinement for four of the eight years he was a POW, mainly because his fierce resistance led other POW’s to resist as well. He spent time in the “Hanoi Hilton” and the “Zoo” prison camps, as well as “Little Vegas” and of course, “Alcatraz” prisons.
Jeremiah Denton and the other POW’s were finally released in 1973 during “Operation Homecoming.” Millions of Americans watched as he became the first POW to step off a C-141 transport at Clark Air Base in the Philippines and speak on behalf of all the POW’s. It was an awesome moment that Hollywood itself couldn’t have written any better…
The plane door opened and Denton came slowly down the ramp. He caught sight of our flag, saluted, and said this:
“We are honored to have had the opportunity to serve our country under difficult circumstances. We are profoundly grateful to our Commander-in-Chief and to our nation for this day.
God bless America.”
A year after returning home, Jeremiah Denton became commandant of the Armed Forces Staff College. He retired from the Navy in 1977 with the rank of Rear Admiral. In 1980, Denton became the first Republican from Alabama to serve in the US Senate since the Reconstruction Era. In Washington, he was a Reagan loyalist, a defender of a strong military, and an advocate for traditional family values. Considered “rigid” by his critics, Denton lost his re-election bid in 1986 but only by the smallest of margins.
In his later years, Jeremiah Denton founded the Coalition for Decency and lectured about family causes around the country. He also launched a humanitarian outreach to poor countries through his National Forum Foundation, which arranged shipments of donated goods and supplies. He loved spending time with his family and also – seemingly very characteristic of him – enjoyed appearing at patriotic gatherings whenever possible.
That age old question of “Where do we get such men?” applies here, doesn’t it? Godspeed, RADM Jeremiah Denton. You were such a great warrior and leader… you were utterly magnificent.
Our “Weekend Links” are below the fold!
Great Weekend Blog Reading Links!
Teach at Pirate’s Cove is blogging about “Hey, Did You Remember That Today Is “Earth Hour”?” don’t forget to turn all your lights ON. 🙂
The Other McCain has many good blog posts up including this one by Stacy on “The Prestige of Elite Credentials.”
ST at Sister Toldjah has up this post on “Maryland #Obamacare Fail: State exchange site to be ditched for new system”.
Leslie Eastman at Legal Insurrection has up this post today on “California version of “American Hustle” features cameo by #Shrimpboy”.
Jeff at Gay Patriot has up this blog post called “A conversation I keep having with people”.
Glenn Reynolds or Instapundit has many great posts at his blog hub from all over the blogosphere so go check them out! And you can read Glenn’s latest article in USA Today on “Washington is headed for disaster”, here.
Yorkshire at The First Street Journal has up a great post called “A Tale of Two Sittings (Rome/Obama)”.
As always, Michelle Obama’s Mirror has up this fun post “Gingerbread: Better than Belgian “chocolate” or a “lace doily”…no?”.
Jammie at Jammie Wearing Fools has up this post “‘Unprecedented Demand’ Could Crash ObamaCare Website”. Seriously… 😉
Jonn at This Ain’t Hell has up this post called “Awards ceremony at Fort Bragg”. Go check it out!
Evil Blogger Lady has this post on “Bill Clinton named in Alleged Pederast-Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein Lawsuit?” Who’s surprised?
Donald Douglas at American Power has up this blog post on “Gawker’s Adam Weinstein: Arrest Climate-Change Deniers!” SMH.
Neo at Neo-Neocon is writing about “More Obamacare woes”. Please go read it.
Darleen Click at Protein Wisdom has this great post up, “My pallid pallor does not smell like privilege”.
and finally, Ace at AoSHQ has up this post on “”Goat Simulator:” Game Hailed By Its Maker as “World’s Dumbest Game” Will Put You Behind the Controls of a… Goat”. You must read the comments! LOL.
Have a terrific weekend!