[LBJ Library photo #A4348-31A by Yoichi Okamoto]

LBJ improved the lives of Americans

Sep 05, 2013

by Round Rock Leader Staff

[published on www.statesman.com on September 5, 2013]

For anyone who lived through the Oz-like 1960s – some of it beautiful and some of it a nightmare – it is a shock to realize the late President Lyndon B. Johnson would be 105 years old if he was still alive today.

Following Johnson’s death in 1973, the Texas State Legislature established the Aug. 27 anniversary of his birth as a state holiday. Although many state employees enjoyed a day off from work, for most others the occasion passed with little fanfare. That’s a shame. Johnson was a man who wanted to be remembered. He should be – and for more than just years of civil unrest and the Vietnam war.

Our 36th president was – physically and in all other ways – a giant of man. Johnson was outsized in his work ethic, endurance and ambition. Most important of all he was, once he reached the White House, big in his vision of what America ought to be.

LBJ entered the world in 1917, amid a Texas Hill Country that was beautiful but also – especially by today’s standards – primitive and brutal.

As a young man he worked with his hands, performing farm labor and signing on with a road-building crew.

But Johnson knew his future was in working with his mind. So he borrowed $75 and was off to what was then called Southwest State Teachers College, in San Marcos.
Johnson – as future wife Lady Bird would note – was a man in a hurry.

After entering politics just before Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, Johnson became – at only age 26 – Texas administrator for FDR’s National Youth Administration programs.
Johnson’s meteoric rise to power in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate – in the 1930s-50s – has been well-documented. read more