WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) submitted the following remarks into the Congressional Record today to honor Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) – and all those Americans who have been held prisoner of war – on the 40th anniversary of “Operation Homecoming”:
“Mr. Speaker, our colleague from Texas, Sam Johnson, is an American hero. And today I join other colleagues in observing the fortieth anniversary of his release from a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp.
“In seven years of captivity Sam endured physical and mental torture. In fact, Sam was set aside for extra abuse because of his obstinate resistance to his Communist captors. At various points Sam spent 42 straight months in solitary confinement and was forced into leg stocks for more than two years.
“But while Sam’s jailors punished his body, they could not break his spirit; his love of God and country is a deep wellspring they could never penetrate. His scars bear witness to his tenacity and toughness.
“Sam Johnson spent a total of 29 years in service to the United States Air Force. He flew combat missions during the Korean War and above Vietnam. He earned two Silver Stars, two Legions of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, a Bronze Star, and numerous other awards. Since his election to this body in 1991, Sam has walked the halls of Congress with the highest levels of respect and admiration. He has grown to become this institution’s living embodiment of cool-under-fire heroism.
“In remembering the anniversary of his release and saying ‘thanks’ to Sam Johnson, we also remember all those captured and imprisoned defending our liberty. In the Rotunda of Capitol hangs the famous black POW-MIA flag. It hangs there to remind all Americans that freedom is not free and is purchased only at the very highest of costs.
“Mr. Speaker, it is impossible to calculate the value of the sacrifices made by war fighters like Sam Johnson. It is equally impossible to adequately repay them. We are simply left with words of gratitude for a job well done. I hope all Members of Congress join me in extending thanks and deep appreciation for our colleague, Sam Johnson.”