Feb. 13 (UPI) — Rep. Sam Johnson donated the tin cup and toothpaste tube he applied during the seven decades he spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam to the Smithsonian’s Countrywide Museum of American Heritage on Tuesday.
In the course of the donation ceremony, the Republican from Texas thanked the museum for preserving POW tales.
“As Americans, we have so a lot to be thankful for, like the present of liberty,” Johnson stated. “As any assistance member or armed forces relatives can tell you, that value can be large. So permit us bear in mind that cost — and bear in mind those who pay out it very first.
“In mild of the forty fifth anniversary of Operation Homecoming, I would like to share a estimate that was etched on the wall by a fellow captive. It browse, ‘Freedom has a taste to those who struggle and pretty much die that the shielded will by no means know.’ God bless you, and God bless The us. I salute you.”
Johnson wrote in his autobiography, Captive Warriors: A Vietnam POW’s Story, that his tin consuming cup held specific importance.
“The only souvenir I preferred from North Vietnam was my consuming cup. For me, it symbolized our war of resistance for seven prolonged decades. It had been a means of communication and, as these, a means of survival. It was all I preferred to choose property from Hanoi’s jail method. I vowed I’d come across a way,” he wrote.
The “Selling price of Freedom: Americans at War” exhibit at the museum includes Johnson’s donation in addition to one more of other prisoner artifacts, like striped uniforms and toiletries.
“Artifacts these as a basic cup and a tube of toothpaste bear witness to the human suffering and the toughness and endurance of American patriots,” stated Jennifer Jones, chair of the museum’s Division of Armed Forces Heritage.
Johnson served 29 decades in the Air Force, a quantity of those as a fighter pilot. He was captured in North Vietnam on April sixteen, 1966, when his jet was shot down. He and a team of other POWs ended up recognised as the Alcatraz gang — they ended up saved separate from other prisoners simply because of their resistance to their captors.
At a facility the American prisoners dubbed Alcatraz, the gentlemen ended up saved in leg cuffs in windowless, concrete solitary cells with the lights on 24 several hours a day.
Johnson stated he was saved in solitary confinement for 42 months.
He was introduced with nearly 600 other prisoners on February twelve, 1973, as aspect of Operation Homecoming.
Johnson is the recipient of two Silver Stars, three Legion of Benefit awards, the Distinguished Traveling Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, two Purple Hearts, four Air Medals and the Prisoner of War Medal. He retired as a colonel.