WNDBy Jeremiah Denton Â© 2011
Editor's note: Most Americans remember Jeremiah Denton from an extraordinary ABC News broadcast in 1966 during the Vietnam War. A Navy A-6 Intruder pilot, Denton had been shot down over North Vietnam and imprisoned as a POW in the infamous "Hanoi Hilton." After being repeatedly tortured to persuade him to speak against the U.S., he was forced to participate in an internationally televised interview intended as a propaganda showcase featuring his forced "confession."
However, when asked whether he supported the U.S. war efforts in Vietnam, he replied: "Well, I don't know what is happening, [but] whatever the position of my government is, I support it fully. Whatever the position of my government, I believe in it, yes sir. I am a member of that government, and it is my job to support it, and I will as long as I live."
Moreover, while answering the interviewer's questions, Denton â€“ pretending to be overwhelmed by the bright television lights â€“ repeatedly blinked in Morse code the word "t-o-r-t-u-r-e" to alert U.S. military intelligence to the fact that his captors were torturing him and his fellow prisoners of war.
As retaliation for his statements on camera, Denton's captors tortured him so severely that guards assigned to oversee the session cried.
In all, Denton was held captive for seven years and eight months, including a staggering four years in solitary confinement. During that time, as the highest ranking officer among the American prisoners, Denton remained both a leader and an example, upholding the highest standards of American honor, while also demonstrating incredible resilience and ingenuity â€“ as did virtually all of the other American POWs.
On Feb. 12, 1973, Denton and other American POWs were released from their captivity. Stepping off the plane in Clark Air Base in the Philippines as a free man, Denton famously said: "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."
Jeremiah Denton later became a U.S. senator from Alabama, and finding himself in the Oval Office with President Ronald Reagan, proposed a comprehensive strategy for confronting communism in Latin America that Reagan accepted and successfully implemented.
He later recounted his remarkable struggle to survive almost eight years as a POW in the classic book, "When Hell Was In Session," recently reissued by WND Books.
The following is a memorable excerpt, in which Denton discovers that God is extraordinarily real, even in a filthy North Vietnamese prison cell â€¦
On July 20, the first anniversary of my arrival in Hanoi, I was placed in rear cuffs and stocks for five days. They were trying to soften me up so that I would make a "good" choice.
During the long, hot, helpless days in cuffs and stocks, when l could only twitch the flies and mosquitoes off my body, I occupied my mind with thoughts of the past. I closed my mind to the frequent blare of the loudspeaker in my cell, and tried to ignore my personal discomfort. I was convinced it would be a long contest, and I searched for sustenance. Thus, my thoughts turned to Ed Overton.
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