Sam Johnson Awarded Inaugural Bipartisan Congressional Patriot Award
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On March 15th, 2016, the Bipartisan Policy Center awarded U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (TX-03) with its first Congressional Patriot Award. The biennial award, established by representatives John Larson (D-CT) and Tom Cole (R-OK), recognizes "two Members of Congress – one Democrat and one Republican – who have performed patriotic deeds worthy of remembrance." Johnson shared the award stage with Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), the iconic civil rights activist and first Democrat recipient of the award.
Congressman Johnson, a 29-year Air Force veteran who served in both the Korean and Vietnam wars, spent nearly seven years of his life in the infamous Hanoi Hilton POW camp. While imprisoned, Johnson fought back and was dubbed a "diehard resistor" along with 10 other individuals. Subsequently, these 11 men – self-titled the "Alcatraz Gang" – were moved to solitary confinement. Johnson spent 42 months alone in a 3x9 foot cell – the longest time of any POW in the camp
Following the award presentation, Johnson released the following statement
"I’m deeply honored to be one of the inaugural recipients of the Congressional Patriot Award. I believe this award will serve as a great opportunity to pass down some key moments in our Great Nation’s history to future generations and to reiterate the importance of patriotism.
"Patriotism is important and it must be fostered in our future generations. Even more important, patriotism must be put into practice. That means each individual serving our Great Nation with the talents and skills which God has blessed them. It also means defending our freedom when it is threatened, because without freedom all the other rights Americans enjoy – and at times take for granted – are mute.
"To quote one of my favorite presidents, Ronald Reagan, 'Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.'"
About the Congressional Patriot Award (according to the Bipartisan Policy Center):
Recipients will have demonstrated the immeasurable value of placing the interests and goals of the nation above all other interests, as well as characteristics of both courage and civility. In so doing, they will have brought credibility and honor to the United States Congress in a manner which reflects our Founding Fathers’ vision for service in the Legislative Branch, and builds the trust of the American people in the capacity of its governing institutions to secure and advance our nation.