Honoring Congressman Sam Johnson on 40Th Anniversary of Release from Prisoner of War Campby Representative Randy Neugebauer
Posted on 2013-02-25
NEUGEBAUER. I thank the gentleman. It is indeed an honor and a
privilege for me to participate in this recognition of our colleague
but, more importantly, my friend, Sam Johnson.
You know, when I got to Congress, you get to know people, and particularly because Sam was in the Texas delegation, and people started saying, they'd say you know Sam's story, and they would begin to tell me a few things about Sam Johnson. So some of the things that you're hearing tonight are things you would have never heard from Sam Johnson because Sam doesn't talk about what he does. He just goes about doing the right thing.
In fact, he's got a history of serving this country. When you think about Sam Johnson, you think about service. You know, a lot of people serve. Sam has served in our military. He served in our Texas House, and now in the United States Congress, but not everybody serves with equal sacrifice. And when you think about Sam Johnson's life, you think about sacrifice.
How I learned more about Sam was an interesting trip that I took with [[Page H614]] then-Speaker of the House, Denny Hastert. We flew to Vietnam to be one of the first delegations to have a Speaker of the House be in Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam war. And so I decided on that trip that I would read Sam's book. So all of the way over there, I read Sam's book, and it was just by fate that I read the last page as we landed in Hanoi.
Tears streamed down from my eyes as I had been on this journey that Sam takes you through his book of sacrifice and pain, but also a man that had faith. And it was his faith that he relied on on a daily basis, and his commitment to his country and his commitment to those who were with him, and the fortitude that he showed of taking those sometimes daily beatings, and this quietness of solitude. As we landed there, I was thinking about Sam and his spending 7 years in those conditions and then coming back home.
But as you read that book, what you also know is another hero, and Sam would be quick to point out, and that was his wife, Shirley, who never gave up hope, never gave up on Sam because she knew the Sam Johnson that we've been talking about tonight. She knew that Sam wouldn't go down easy.
Sam, we're so proud of you and so glad to serve with you. One of the memorable points of that trip is just a few months before that, Sam himself had traveled back to Hanoi, the first time since he had left, and he had signed the guest book just a few pages over: Sam Johnson back again, where I spent 7 years of my life.
It was an honor for me to sign just a few pages over. For a great American hero but, more importantly, for a great friend: God bless you, Sam Johnson, and God bless the United States of America.