On July 18, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke about Sen. John McCain: “He’s not a war hero. He is a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK? I hate to tell you … I believe, perhaps, he’s a war hero.”
Mr. Trump’s statement was not one of the finer moments in the history of U.S. presidential campaigns.
C.S. Lewis once wrote: “We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”
What does it mean to be a hero? From where does heroism spring?
Before the late Jeremiah Denton became a senator for the state of Alabama, he served his country as a naval fighter pilot, later becoming a rear admiral. During a mission over enemy lines in Vietnam, Denton’s plane went down and he was captured as a POW. He was tortured by the enemy and spent four years in solitary confinement.
I spoke with the late senator’s son, Jerry Denton, himself a veteran of the Vietnam War, about his father. Mr. Denton spoke with clarity about the essence of what it really means to be heroic.