|Congressman Sam Johnson and Dr. Kay Tracy|
I am attaching a copy of my "bracelet speech". I belonged to an organization in DC called Capitol Speakers. Women in the public eye, such as ambassadors' wives, as well as TV personalities, etc., joined to take a speech course and then practice speaking at monthly meetings. I wrote this little talk to give to that group. Sam Johnson, Congressman, from Texas, was supposed to attend for the presentation but that was the day when the Capitol was evacuated because of an anthrax (?) scare, so he didn't make it. Subsequently, I, along with George and some friends, went to his office and had the presentation there.
Sam Johnson read the little talk into the Congressional Record. As you will gather, I had his bracelet. I am attaching a picture as well. Sam has a bad arm, suffered as a result of torture while imprisoned in the Hanoi Hilton, where he was John McCain's roommate.
I still find the whole thing moving. By the way, a nun had John McCain's bracelet.
Dr. Kay Blythe Tracy
[Congressional Record: December 20, 2001 (Extensions)
Page E2347] From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov] [DOCID:cr20de01pt2-31]
AMONG MY SOUVENIRS
HON. SAM JOHNSON
in the House of Representatives
Wednesday, December 19, 2001
Mr. SAM JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I submit the following article by Kay Blythe Tracy, Ph.D.:
Americans now are inspired and united by every musical note of "God Bless America.'' But back in the sixties, we were a nation in discord, singing many different tunes. Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote songs of Camelot, while Pete Seeger asked, "Where have all the young men gone?''
The story I'm going to tell you today is about what happened to one of those young men. This story began in the sixties, when POW/MIA bracelets were conceived as a way to remember missing or captive American prisoners of war in Southeast Asia. Traditionally, a POW/MIA bracelet is worn until the man named on the bracelet is accounted for, whether it be 30 days or 35 years.
I bought my bracelet in 1970 for $2.50. It has, "Lt. Col. Samuel Johnson, April 16, 1966'' engraved on it. I wore the bracelet faithfully for many years, but eventually took it off and put it away. But every time I opened my jewelry box, I saw it. And every time I saw it, I was saddened, and I thought of Lt. Col. Johnson, and I said a little prayer.
The bracelet led to my first foray into the wonderful world of e-Bay, the on-line auction service, where I listed it for sale. I thought that anyone who would buy it would treasure it and it would be out of my sight, out of my mind. To my surprise, bidding on the bracelet was brisk.
On the seventh, and final, day of the auction, my husband George asked me if I knew what had happened to Col. Johnson.
"No,'' I replied. "I never wanted to know.'' But George went to the Internet, and returned with information. Of the more than twenty-five hundred POWs, and the three to six thousand MIAs, only 591 men returned. My brother, a Marine Lieutenant, did not.
After spending seven years as a prisoner of war, Sam Johnson did.
I was so happy I cried.
When I contacted Congressman Johnson's office, his aide, McCall Cameron, told me that he and Mrs. Johnson were on vacation with their grandchildren.
Grandchildren! More tears.
Congressman Johnson said he would very much like to have his bracelet. So, I cancelled the e-Bay auction, and today I am returning this souvenir. In the words of Randy Sparks, "A million tomorrows will all pass away, ere I forget all the joy that is mine today.''
And in my own words, I say to Sam, finally,
To Dr. Tracy, I say, "Thank you. We will never forget. God bless you.''
Congressman Sam Johnson