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The Most Romantic Story In Congress

Love triumphs over oceans, war and politics.

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Editors' Note

This post has been corrected to properly attribute phrasing that was copied from a press release produced by Rep. Sam Johnson's office.

BuzzFeed takes its responsibility to readers very seriously, and plagiarism is a major breach of that responsibility. Please read our apology to readers here.


While Sam was in captivity, Shirley "helped create the National League of Families that started the POW bracelet campaign as a way to draw international attention to the cruel treatment of the Prisoners of War in Vietnam," according to Johnson's office.


Sam was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legions of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, one Bronze Star with Valor, two Purple Hearts, four Air Medals, and three Outstanding Unit Awards.

Johnson told BuzzFeed this today: "Shirley is the real hero."

"Shirley Johnson, my high school sweetheart, has forever been the love of my life. During my seven years as a POW in Hanoi, Vietnam, she never once gave up on me. She never stopped caring, praying, and loving. Her courage and strength held my family together in some of the darkest days of our lives. Some people have called me an American hero, but all I can say, is that Shirley is the real hero. My beautiful wife truly is my better half, and I am just as in love with her today as I was when I first married her nearly 63 years ago."


Contact Benny Johnson at

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