Monday, November 10, 2014

Honor To Serve

As Veteran's Day approaches, I cannot help but think of a famous veteran that we lost this pass year.

Jeremiah Denton

This pass March, Rear Admiral Denton passed away at the age of 89.

Sadly, I was never taught about our veterans and their contributions on a personal level in school. However, about eight years ago or so, I was asked to sing the Ray Boltz song, Honor To Serve. It was a touching tribute to Jeremiah Denton. As I started learning the song, it made me curious about who this guy was. I mean, I knew he was a veteran and all, but what was his story?

His story consists of a long career of service to our country in the military and politics. While Vietnam was a high octane situation, Denton was flying over North Vietnam in his A-6 Intruder when he was shot down. Both he and his navigator were captured and held as prisoners of war for nearly eight years.

While in captivity, Denton experienced one of the longest, if not THE longest, time in solitary confinement. He suffered torture at the hands of the Vietnamese. He spoke of things he was forced to experience which I cannot fathom. All because he was serving in our military.

He is known for being the POW who blinked the word "TORTURE" in Morse code while being
interviewed by the Vietnamese, which was broadcasted on television. Denton came up with the plan when they turned the bright lights on and it made him blink his eyes. By doing this, it was confirmation for the United States government that our men were indeed being subjected to torture.

Jeremiah was not the only fighter in his family. His wife, Jane, was busy on the home front with other military wives. They did not have access to information about their husbands like we wives today usually have. They continually had to press the U.S. government to confirm whether or not they were widows. I cannot imagine having that question on my mind for YEARS.

In his book, When Hell Was In Session, I felt he was very factual about what occurred without
spewing bitterness. I do not know what his relationship was with the Lord, but he did credit God for getting him through those years. He kept himself and other prisoners together mentally by implementing a "schedule" of things to do each day, just to keep them sane. They had developed a system of communicating, from prisoner to prisoner, with taps and knocks and such, even when they could not see each other.

Do I write this because I idolize him? No. I write this because we as Americans, myself included, have become too soft. We forget what our founding fathers sacrificed to build this country. We forget what veterans sacrifice to serve our country and what they endured at the hands of enemy captors.

Please watch the video. It has some great footage and brings me to tears.

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