Admiral Jeremiah Denton (USN Ret) Turns 85

The Thomas More Law Center is honored to have Admiral Jeremiah Denton as our Advisory Board Chairman.  [On Friday] Admiral Denton turned 85 years of age.

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.

Admiral Denton commented on attaining 85 years, “I am happy to say that I just celebrated my 85th Birthday.  While you won’t find me jumping out of an airplane like Bush, Sr. did on his 85th earlier this year, you would find me on the golf course with my sons and ready for the challenge.  I am even happier to say that I was able to enjoy my Birthday in good health, with family, friends and the Blessings of God who has kept me around.  The Good Lord must render some things I have to say as valuable.  Recently, I was invited to be the keynote speaker at an important conference at the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, FL.  Shortly after that, I was invited to attend a Dedication Ceremony of the DOD Humanitarian Relief Corridor at the Pentagon.  Also, I have been invited by the Secretary of Defense to be the keynote speaker at the 2009 National Celebration of POW/MIA Day at the Pentagon on 11 September this year.  And reportedly, the book I have been working on is at its completion.  The contract has been signed and we will keep you updated on what I feel is an important piece of work regarding an accurate account of the Vietnam War (scheduled to be released Veteran’s Day).  Incidentally, I recently wrote a book review of Ride the Thunder, by Richard Botkin (another great work on the Vietnam War).  The review was published in The Washington Times (July 13th).”

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center commented, “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 on his birthday is a small tribute to a man that is literally a living legend.”

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.

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