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Story Of Sam Brown, Pen Pal To Anwar Sadat, Will Fill Your Heart With Joy

January 22, 2016

Last night the lights were shining late at our home as I read about the flight of Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter along with a group of governmental figures as they traveled to the funeral for Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

There among the list of those attending the funeral was the name of a fourteen-year-old boy from Liberty, South Carolina.  Sam Brown was a pen pal of Sadat and though the book did not provide much detail about this young man, his story–as discovered on the internet–is one that nearly brought tears to my eyes.   It is simply one of the most wonderful accounts that I am sure to read in a very long time.

In a nutshell Sam Brown as part of a class project will write to Sadat, who then writes back. In time Sadat pays for a five-day visit to his country, where Brown is able to visit many historic sites. Upon hearing the news of Sadat’s assassination a local member of congress will contact the White House and secure a place for Brown on the plane—the plane being the former Air Force One.   The town of Liberty gathers up money for the boy so he can have a suit, and then the store sells it has half off—-my eyes were welling—this is so American, so sweet a story.  His dad was disabled and the family lived in a mobile home but yet this young person would travel with a funeral delegation and march with world leaders in Cairo.   God, I love this story!

As I searched online certain snippets just reached out and demanded to be shared.

During a stopover in Manhattan Sunday on his way home to Liberty, S.C., the 14-year-old said he got to munch pea-nut butter jelly beans on Air Force One and to meet Mrs. Sadat.

“I had mixed feelings, a little bit of happiness for being on the trip and sorrow for why,” said the youngest mourner in the American delegation.  While walking with former presidents Jimmy Carter,  Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon and other world leaders in the funeral procession, he said, “I was just thinking how bad it was without him, losing a good friend and a good leader.”

I have not been able to find photos of Brown at the time of his trip on Air Force One, or any information about what his life became as an adult.    If a reader to this blog knows more about him I would welcome the information.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2016 12:19 PM

    This is most remarkable! I would love to know more about his thoughts of that time on Air Force One or what he told the students. I am so glad that this all worked out for Easley High School. When I first read about him, as noted on my blog, it really made for an interesting story that few will ever have the chance to live.

  2. Donnis Brown Longino permalink
    April 23, 2016 3:42 AM

    I am Sam’s sister. Tracy Todd found Sam and arranged for him to speak yesterday at Easley High School. We do have some photos of Sam on Air Force One with Ford, Carter, and Nixon.

  3. April 8, 2016 12:02 PM

    I am sorry, but I have no further information about him. But what an amazing story and I suspect he has a great recollection to offer.

  4. Tracy Todd permalink
    April 8, 2016 11:01 AM

    Have you found out anything else about Sam Brown? My APUSH class would like to interview him.

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