When you honor a great man's passing, use the time to measure yourself against the man at his best. If in his shoes, what would you have done? How would history and the man in the mirror evaluate your actions?
It is a little more than eight years since one of the greats passed.
Jeremiah Denton, the Vietnam War POW who has died at age 89, uttered one of the great statements of defiance in American history.
In 1965, he was shot down in his A-6 during a bombing run over North Vietnam. He became a captive for more than seven years and endured an unimaginable regime of torture, humiliation, and isolation, managing to retain his dignity and spirit even as his captors went to hideous lengths to snuff them out.
The next point is why many in uniform, rightly, don't take well to any representative of our nation bowing to anyone.
Soon after his capture, a young North Vietnamese solider signaled to him to bow down and, when he refused, pressed a gun to his head so hard it created a welt. Denton quickly learned that this would be mild treatment. He was taken to Hoa Lo Prison, or the Hanoi Hilton, where he led the resistance to the North Vietnamese efforts to extract propaganda confessions from their prisoners.
As Denton related in his book, When Hell Was in Session, they tried to starve one out of him.