A Rainy Saturday Morning in D.C.

Like most folks in Meridian, I knew Sonny. Not well, but I knew the man and I knew he represented our area in Congress really well.

In July 1981, I was one of the assistant scoutmasters of the Choctaw Area Council National Jamboree Troop. Four of us adults were taking our area troop of about 30 boys, to the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Fort A. P. Hill, Virginia. Fort Hill is near Fredericksburg, and so, a side trip to Washington was planned on the way to the Jamboree. I am assuming that the Scout Executive in Meridian arranged the Washington “touristy trip” as I know none of the adult Scout leaders did it.

We arrived in Washington by train on a very rainy Saturday morning and boarded a bus that took us to the capitol building. We had been told that Sonny’s office had set up a tour of the building for us. We adults assumed we might be met by a young aide from Sonny’s office for a routine tour.

We got the surprise of our lives when we got off the bus! In addition to Mr. Vance being there to greet us, Sonny was there too. Sonny took us places in the capitol that normal tourists don’t get to go. He escorted us to the floor of the United States House of Representatives. He let the Scouts sit at various desks in the House. He pointed out the initials carved in the desks by men that we (Scouts and adult leaders) had only read about in history books! We didn’t get the 50 cent tour. We got the 50 dollar tour!

After we left the capitol we emphasized to the Scouts (I think some of the older boys realized this already) that we had been treated to a special tour by OUR congressman – a man that we all greatly admired and respected. We made sure the boys knew that this was no ordinary tour.

This story of mine shows again what Sonny was all about. He never forgot where he came from. He was one of us.

Bob Chatham

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