Alabama officials are remembering former Alabama Sen. Jeremiah Denton and his contributions in the Senate and the military. He served a term in the U.S. Senate and was a retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral.
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead says Denton was a groundbreaker for the Republican Party when he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980 because Democrats had held both of Alabama's Senate seats for many decades.
Denton was defeated six years later by Sen. Richard Shelby. Shelby says Denton will long be remembered for his service to America and as a hero of the Vietnam War, where he was a prisoner of war for more than seven years.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions issued a statement:
“Jeremiah Denton was a friend, warrior, leader, and hero. The nation will never forget his courage when, having endured brutal torture as a POW in Vietnam, he defied and outsmarted his captors and broadcast a Morse code message to the world. He was a man of grit and character that can’t be manufactured. His word was his bond and his loyalty was unshakable. Vietnam’s most ruthless interrogators couldn’t break the iron will of this rock-ribbed Alabama native. During his videotaped inquisition he declared: ‘whatever the position of my government is, I support it fully… and I will as long as I live.’ After being freed from the Vietnamese prison camp, before returning to home soil, he again displayed his abiding sense of duty, saying: ‘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.’ He also had a deep religious faith that helped inspire his service in the U.S. Senate. The city of Mobile, the state of Alabama, the Navy, and the Congress have all been honored to know him. I will miss my friend dearly. My wife, Mary, and I pray that his family will draw strength from the knowledge that Jeremiah’s legacy will outlive us all. May God bless him on his next journey.”
U.S. Rep. Martha Roby of Montgomery calls Denton "a true American hero." She says she hopes every Alabamian will take a moment to remember Denton's story and share it with their children.