Honoring Congressman Sam Johnson on 40Th Anniversary of Release from Prisoner of War Campby Representative John R. Carter
Posted on 2013-02-25
CARTER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Sam Johnson is an American hero, and everybody in this House knows that. He's an American hero for all kinds of ways that he served this country. Many of the people here are going to talk about those ways, and every one of them are important.
I read Sam's book. It's an awesome book. It makes you cry at points; it makes you struggle. But it also expresses the kind of a man and, quite frankly, the kind of a family Sam Johnson has.
Sam was a guy with a broken leg, dislocated shoulders, who looked them straight in the eye and spit in their face and told them to take their best shot. And he suffered for it, he suffered unmercifully for it, but he never gave in to the enemy. He always stood his ground, to his detriment, and it harmed him in so many physical ways. And yet the thing that makes me always tear up is you read the part of the book where Sam steps off that plane, when we finally repatriated our prisoners, and saluted and said, Colonel Sam Johnson reporting for duty, sir. And Sam reports for duty.
People say, Who do you want to have your back in a foxhole? But people also say, Who do you want to have your back in Congress? I want Sam Johnson to have my back in Congress. He's a friend. He's one of my best friends in this Congress. I've gotten to know him very well. He and I go to a Christian retreat together almost every year.
And that's one of the things you notice from the book. Sam didn't talk about himself. He talked about when they took him out and he thought, This time they're going to shoot me. He prayed to God that he could stand there and be a man. And they went, Ready, aim, fire, click, and one more time they didn't shoot him. And at that time he thanked God and his Savior, because he knew he had witnessed a miracle.
Meanwhile, his sweet wife was praying and fighting on the home front because she didn't know. She got very little news about what was going on in Sam's life, but she never gave up because her faith strengthened her. And that's part of the theme of that book that you need to pick up and read, that their faith strengthened them in trials that none of us can ever imagine.
Sam Johnson is a hero, not just because of what went on in Vietnam and what our enemy did to him. He's a hero because he comes here every day and he fights for the people of his district and for the State and for this country. He's willing to take a risk and step out, even now after all the years of service, both legislatively and in the Congress. Sam Johnson is one who is willing to step out and take the shots.
I was once asked by ``60 Minutes'' to define what a leader is, and I said, [[Page H612]] Well, I'm just a history guy who reads history. I always thought in the First World War how hard it would have been to come out of those trenches and charge those machine guns with a bolt-action rifle, and that the officers who climbed out in front and said, ``Let's go, boys; let's go get 'em,'' were the heroes, and the guys that stayed in the bottom and said, ``You go get 'em, boys,'' they were not heroes. And a special hero is one who says, ``I'm going first and I'll take the shots.'' There's plenty of shots to be had in this Chamber, and those are political shots. But I'm proud to say that that same hero that spit in the enemy's face, Sam Johnson, is still willing to stand up and take the shots in Congress. And for that reason, I today honor my good friend Sam Johnson and tell him I want him to keep taking care of my back, because I need it real bad.