Former POW & Senator Jeremiah Denton Dies

Former POW & Senator Jeremiah Denton Dies

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va - Denton is a Mobile native. He attended McGill Institute and Spring Hill College before graduating from the Naval Academy. During his combat tour in Vietnam, Denton's plane was shot down and he spent over 7 years in captivity. Four of those years in solitary confinement.
 
Former Alabama Sen. Jeremiah Denton, who survived 7½ years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam and alerted the U.S. military to conditions there when he blinked the word "torture" in Morse code during a television interview, has died. He was 89.
 
Denton's grandson, Edward Denton, says he died about 8 a.m. Friday at a hospice facility surrounded by family. Edward Denton says his grandfather had been in declining health for the past year and died from heart problems.
 
Denton, a Republican who served a single term in the U.S. Senate, was a strong advocate of conservative causes and backer of the Reagan administration. But the iron will that served him in such good stead in captivity gave rise to criticism that he was too rigid as a politician.
 
U.S. Senator from Alabama Jeff Sessions said the city of Mobile, the state of Alabama and Congress have been honored to know Denton.
 
"Jeremiah Denton was a friend, warrior, leader, and hero," said Sessions in a statement. "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."
 
"Senator Denton was a true American hero," said Congressman Bradley Byrne. "He served the state of Alabama with distinction in the United States Senate, and we are proud to claim him as a native son of Mobile. I admire his passion for service and strive to emulate his example as a true public servant. He will be dearly missed.”
 
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. 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.
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