Scott Harvey & Bill Oliver
Commerce, TX –
The keynote speaker of the 16th Veterans Vigil at Texas A&M University-Commerce was Shirley Johnson, wife of Congressman Sam Johnson of Plano.
The speech outlined her dedication and commitment to prisoners of war after her husband's plane was shot down in Vietnam and he himself became a POW.
Sam Johnson spent nearly seven years as a POW including 42 months in solitary confinement. Upon entering the war, the Johnson's three children included two teenagers and one pre-teen. By his return, the Johnson's oldest child was pursuing his master's degree, the middle child was getting her bachelor's degree, and the youngest was finishing high school.
Shirley Johnson also talked about fighting hard for her husband and other wives of POWs. She became very involved with POW family support groups and programs. She even traveled to Washington D.C. to publicize POW issues and assure they were given their rights.
Johnson's efforts allowed her to keep in better touch with her husband through letters. She showed the audience at A&M-Commerce the first letter she received after her husband was captured.
Mrs. Johnson also assisted in the lighting of the vigil flame, part of the memorial erected on the West Lawn in front of the A&M-Commerce Memorial Student Center.