If you are too young to remember the Vietnam War, you may not be familiar with a brave and courageous man. His name is Jeremiah Denton, and I was saddened when I read of his death last week.
The service of U.S. Navy Comdr. Jeremiah A. Denton, Jr., was nothing short of remarkable. As the pilot of an A-6 Intruder, he led bombing runs over North Vietnam. On July 18, 1965, he was shot down and taken prisoner.
While at the Hanoi Hilton, his captors intended to use him in a propaganda statement that would denounce the American war effort and praise the Viet Cong for their humane treatment.
Denton’s words were not as important as his actions. He said: “Whatever the position of my government, I believe in it, yes, sir,” he said. “I am a member of that government, and it is my job to support it, and I will as long as I live.” While he was speaking these words, he was also sending a Morse code message by blinking his eyelids:
T: – O: – – – R: • – • T: — U: • • – R: • – • E: • By connecting the dots, Denton’s message made sense.
When I think of the tenacious spirit of Denton, I’m reminded of Paul’s call to commitment: “ . . . run with endurance the race set out for us, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up (Hebrews 12:1-3).”
One reason Denton persevered was because he connected the dots. He “fixed” his eyes on Jesus. “A man,” Denton said, “does a lot of praying in an enemy prison. Prayer, even more than sheer thought, is the firmest anchor.”
When the winds of adversity roar through your life at a dizzying speed, what is the anchor of your soul?
Note: I encourage you to watch the short video of Denton’s interview by clicking here.