Why should you care how "Jeremiah Denton" feels about
John Kerry? First, let's make certain we know exactly who
Jeremiah Denton is, because in our world today,
Americans who have given so much for their country
.... are often "unknown".
Who Is Jeremiah Denton?
In 1973, Jeremiah A. Denton, Jr. walked off an Air Force
C-141 aircraft to freedom after being held captive in
North Vietnam for more than seven years.
Born in 1924 in Mobile Alabama, Denton graduated
from the United States Naval Academy in 1946.
In June 1965, he was assigned to Attack Squadron 75 on
the USS Independence flying the Grumman A-6 Intruder.
On 18 July 1965, while pulling up after leading a bombing attack
on enemy installations near Thanh Hoa, he was shot down and
captured by North Vietnamese troops.
While held prisoner, Denton became the first American subjected
to four years of solitary confinement. In 1966, during a television
interview by the North Vietnamese and broadcast on American
television, Denton gained national attention when, while being
questioned, he blinked his eyes in Morse code, repeatedly spelling
out the covert message "T-O-R-T-U-R-E". During his captivity
he frequently served as the senior American military officer
in numerous camps in and around Hanoi.
On 12 February 1973, Denton was released and promoted to rear
admirall in April 1973. In 1976 Denton's Vietnam experience was
chronicled in the book When Hell Was in Session, and in an NBC
movie of the same title, which won the 1979 Peabody Award. In
1979 Denton retired from the Navy as Commandant of the Armed
Forces Staff College and returned to Mobile, Alabama.
During his 34 years of military service, he received numerous
awards and honors, to include:
* the Navy Cross,
* Three Silver Stars,
* The Distinguished Flying Cross, and
* Two Purple Hearts.
In November 1980, Denton became the first retired
flag officer ever elected to the U.S. Senate. Some of
his major committee assignments included:
the Judiciary Committee,
the Armed Services Committee,
and the Veterans Affairs Committee.
In 1983, Denton founded the National Forum
Foundation Dedicated to the concept of One
Nation under God, the institution of the family,
welfare reform, and peacekeeping and
In 1987, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan
to be Chairman of the Presidential Commission on
Merchant Marine and Defense.
Among many other legislative accomplishments, Denton
established the highly acclaimed international aid program
known as The Denton Program, responsible for transporting
over 20 million pounds of critical equipment and supplies to
needy people throughout the world. Denton currently serves as
President of the National Forum Foundation and lectures on
national and international affairs.
He and his wife Jane reside in Mobile, Alabama.
They have 7 children and 15 grandchildren.
Who is John Kerry?
By JEREMIAH DENTON
(Rear Admiral, US Navy, Retired)
Special to the Register
Knowing that I served in the U.S. Senate with John Kerry
and that, like him, I am a veteran of the Vietnam War, many
people have asked me what I think of him, particularly now
that he's the apparent presidential nominee of the
When Kerry joined me in the Senate, I already knew about
his record of defamatory remarks and behavior criticizing
U.S. policy in Vietnam and the conduct of our military
personnel there. I had learned in North Vietnamese
prisons how much harm such statements caused.
To me, his remarks and behavior amounted to giving aid
and comfort to our Vietnamese and Soviet enemies. So I
was not surprised when his subsequent overall voting
pattern in the Senate was consistently detrimental to
our national security. Considering his demonstrated
popularity during the Democratic primaries, I earnestly
hope the American people will soberly consider Kerry's
qualifications for the presidency in light of his position
and record on both our cultural war at home and on
national security issues.
To put it bluntly, John Kerry exemplifies the very reasons
that I switched to the Republican Party. Like the majority
in his political party, he has proven by his words and actions
that his list of priorities ... his ideas on what most needs to be
done to improve this country ... are almost opposite to my own.
Here are two issue areas that I consider top priorities: the war
over the soul of America, and national security.
Top priority should be placed on an effort to recover
our most fundamental founding belief that our national
objectives, policies and laws should reflect obedience to
the will of Almighty God. Our Declaration of Independence,
our national Constitution and each of the states' constitutions
stress that basic American national principle. For about 200
years, the entire country, both parties and all branches of
government understood that principle and tried to follow it
... if imperfectly.
For some 50 years, our nation's opinion-makers, our courts
and, gradually, our politicians have been abandoning our
historical effort to be "one nation under God" in favor of
becoming "one nation without God," with glaringly
I believe our political leaders, educational system, parents
and opinion-makers must all return to teaching the truth most
emphasized by our Founding Fathers. George Washington called
religious belief indispensable to the prosperity of our democracy.
William Penn said, "Men must choose to be governed by God or
condemn themselves to be ruled by tyrants." And when asked
what caused the Civil War, President Lincoln said,
"We have forgotten God."
In these days we have not only forgotten God, we are by
our new standards of government and culture rejecting
him as the acknowledged creator and as the endower of
our rights. As a result, we are suffering cultural decay and
human unhappiness. The decline of the institution of the
family is the most obvious result. Perhaps the current
movie, "The Passion of the Christ," will help many to
come to realize the cost of the redemption of our sins,
and the destructiveness of sin.
Let's remember that over 95 percent of Americans during
our founding days were Christians, and though our Founding
Fathers stipulated that no one was to be compelled to believe
in any religion, and also stipulated that there would be no
single Christian denomination installed as a national religion,
there was no question that our laws were to be firmly based
on the Judean Ten Commandments and on Christ's mandate
to love your neighbor as you love yourself. That setup brought
us amazing success as a nation, lifting us from our humble
beginnings, through crisis after crisis, to become the
leading nation of the world.
Now, though, we are throwing away the very source of our
strength and greatness. Yet I am not giving up on our country.
I am encouraged at the stand and the attitude of our president,
and inspired by his courage. There are many more of his stripe
in Washington now. Though Rome and other empires have
decayed and fallen, the cultural war in the United States can
and should be won by the majority of Americans ...
a majority to whom Kerry and the Democrats disdainfully
refer to as the "far right." They are people who believe in God
and in the original concept of "one nation under God."
As a nation, we are now at the point of no return.
The GOOD GUYS are finally angry enough to join
the fray, and I pray we are not too late. John Kerry
is not among the good guys.
The Democratic Party isn't, either.
Indeed, on the subject of national security, John Kerry
epitomizes a fatal weakness in the Democratic Party.
During the decisive days of the Cold War, after the
Democratic Party changed during the mid-1960s, the
party was on the wrong side of every strategic debate
on policy regarding Vietnam and the USSR, and is now
generally on the wrong side in the war on terrorism.
The truth is that the Cold War was barely won by a narrow
margin ... a victory and a margin determined by the political
choices made by our government regarding suitable steps to
deter Soviet attack and finally win the Cold War. If the U.S.
had followed the Democratic Party line, the Cold War would
have concluded with the U.S. having to surrender without a
fight, or the U.S. would have been defeated in a nuclear war
with acceptable losses to the USSR. It was not Johnson and
Carter and the Democrats; it was Reagan and Bush, and
the Republicans who led us to victory in the Cold War.
And George W. Bush and the Republican majority ...
not John Kerry and the Democrats ... can lead us
to victory in the war on terrorism.
Jeremiah Denton; Rear Admiral, US Navy, Retired