In the Vietnam War, Jeremiah Denton, a US Navy aviator, spent over eight years as a prisoner of war. In 1966, he sent a secret message through his eyes in a Vietnamese propaganda broadcast using Morse code.
During the Vietnam War, Jeremiah Denton, a prisoner of war, sent a message to the world using just his eyes in 1966.
This act turned a propaganda film upside down, making Denton an American hero.
Between 1955 and 1975, Denton served in the US Navy as an aviator in the Vietnam War.
Denton was compelled to participate in a propaganda news piece while imprisoned for over eight years at the Zoo, a POW camp in North Vietnam.
The Vietnamese military produced the broadcast with the intention of demonstrating that jail guards were abiding by human rights regulations.
Denton was seen on camera telling reporters that he receives "adequate food, clothing, and medical care," but his expression betrayed otherwise.
If you've viewed the video and you still don't understand, Denton was actually communicating the truth with his eyes by utilizing Morse code.
Denton spelled out the word "torture" using the communication approach.
The POW not only demonstrated his continued US government affiliation but also made it apparent through the use of telecommunications techniques.
"I don't know what is happening but whatever the position of my government is, I support it," he said.
"Whatever the position of my government, I believe in it, yes, sir. I am a member of that government, and it is my job to support it, and I will as long as I live."
Even though he knew he would be tortured once the camera stopped recording, he nonetheless made the statement.
"In the early morning hours, I prayed that I could keep my sanity until they released me. I couldn't even give in to their demands, because there were none. It was pure revenge," Denton wrote at the time.
"They beat you with fists and fan belts," he also told the Los Angeles Times in 1979.
"They warmed you up and threatened you with death. Then they really got serious and gave you something called the rope trick."
He said that severe muscle spasms were caused by the use of ropes to cut off circulation in your limbs.
Denton and Tschudy were both let free in 1973 as part of Operation Homecoming, which brought back 591 American prisoners of war who had been detained by North Vietnam.
After that, Denton went into politics and was elected as the first Republican from Alabama to the Senate since the Reconstruction era.
But in 1986, he was narrowly defeated in his attempt to win reelection.
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, a Democrat who beat Denton in 1986, said in a statement, "He was a war hero, an honorable senator, and a family man who cared deeply about his country."