PLANO (Feb. 24, 2014) — U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (TX-03) delivered the following statement Monday during the official unveiling ceremony of the “Sam Johnson Highway,” hosted by State Senator Ken Paxton, State Representative Jeff Leach and the Texas Department of Transportation.

Representative Leach and Senator Paxton passed legislation during Texas’ 83rd Legislative Session (House Bill 1534) which directs, through private funding, the renaming of Highway 75, the "Sam Johnson Highway," along the corridor between the intersections of the President George Bush Turnpike and U.S. Highway 380.

Excerpts from Johnson’s remarks during the ceremony:

“I’d like to start by recognizing and thanking two solid conservative Collin County leaders who are making a difference, my friends Senator Ken Paxton and Representative Jeff Leach. Today’s unveiling would not be possible without your relentless efforts. I feel deeply humbled by this tremendous honor.

“I know many have been recognized already, but I want to mention a special friend of mine, Ross Perot. My relationship with Ross goes back to the days when he worked with my wife, Shirley, when I was being held as a P.O.W. in Vietnam. Ross is a veteran, a businessman, a tireless advocate for the military and a legend in Texas for what he has done to develop the area.

“Today, we gather to celebrate the renaming of Highway 75, but more importantly this ceremony is emblematic of North Texans’ appreciation and value of service and sacrifice. North Texas is home to many American patriots, and this recognition is not only for my service, but also for theirs.

“Sometimes people have called me a war hero. While that’s kind and I appreciate the compliment, I prefer fighter pilot or combat veteran or better yet husband and father. After all, as Will Rogers once said, ‘We can't all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and applaud when they go by.’ This is for the real heroes, and I salute each and every one of them.

“There are several reasons that today’s tribute nearly brings me to tears, and I’m guessing you can guess the first. Today’s ceremony is a shining example of God’s love, protection, promises and providence. ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’

“Yes, one week and 41 years ago, I touched down on Texas soil. After nearly seven years as a Prisoner of War, more than half of that time in solitary confinement, I flew home to America with the first plane load with the longest-held American POWs as part of Operation Homecoming.”