The Thomas More Law Center and the American Legion, Department of California, will be honoring Vietnam War hero, retired Admiral and former U.S. Senator, Jeremiah Denton, with a plaque dedication ceremony atop Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial in La Jolla, CA, this Friday, September 19, 2008, at 1 pm PST.Admiral Jeremiah Denton was a Vietnam POW for nearly eight years. Suffering severe mistreatment, he became the first U.S. military captive to be subjected to four years of solitary confinement. He first came to the public’s attention in 1966. After being tortured and threatened with more torture and even death if he did not “correctly” answer the questions posed, he was televised in front of Communist dignitaries with the purpose of having him admit to American atrocities. Instead, Admiral Denton replied, “Whatever the position of my government is, I believe it, I support it, and I will support it as long as I live.” Years later, Admiral Denton authored, When Hell Was In Session, a reflection on his time as a POW.
September 19th is the National POW/MIA Recognition Day.
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center commented, “This is a great honor for both the Law Center and the American Legion. Admiral Denton represents everything good about America – a heroic patriot, a devoted husband, father, and a faithful Christian. The Law Center is proud to have him as the Chairman of our Citizens Advisory Board. Honoring him at Mt. Soledad is very appropriate, since he played an instrumental role in the Law Center’s efforts to save the Cross, where it is, as it is.”
Ralph Huskey, American Legion District 22 Commander, will be the master of ceremonies. Rear Admiral Len Hering, USN, Commander, Navy Region Southwest, will be a speaker and presenter of the dedication plaque to Admiral Denton’s son, Michael Denton. Rees Lloyd, past Commander of California Legion District 21 will introduce Brian Rooney and Charles LiMandri from the Thomas More Law Center. Click here to view a picture of the plaque that Michael Denton will receive in his father’s honor.
Admiral Denton’s character and courage was epitomized in a North Vietnamese televised interview, Admiral Denton feigning sensitivity to harsh camera lighting, looked into the camera lens and blinked his eyes in Morse Code spelling out the message ‘T-O-R-T-U-R-E.’ Thus, he provided Naval Intelligence the first confirmation that American POWs in Vietnam were being tortured. Further, as spokesperson for the first group of returning POWs in 1973, as he stepped from the plane he was asked to make a statement on behalf of the group. He turned to the microphones and said, “We are honored to have the opportunity to serve our country under difficult circumstances. We are profoundly grateful to our Commander-in-Chief and our nation for this day. God bless America.”
Richard Thompson further commented, “One of my favorite memories of Admiral Denton is when he was honored by President Ronald Reagan.” In his 1982 State of the Union Address, President Reagan stated, “We don’t have to turn to our history books for heroes, they’re all around us.” The President then looked into the audience and singled out Jeremiah Denton, “One who sits among you here tonight epitomized that heroism at the end of the longest imprisonment ever inflicted on men of our armed forces.”
Admiral Denton has been a member of the Thomas More Law Center Citizens Advisory Board since 2005. He is responsible for developing the Law Center’s national strategy.