JOHNSON CITY, Texas —
“If there was ever a doubt in my mind what a true Texan looks like, we don’t have to look any further than President Johnson,” said Brig. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman, 502nd Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio commander, during a public wreath-laying ceremony Aug. 27 at the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. The park is located in Johnson City, Texas. The gravesite ceremony for the former president observes his birthday and the contributions he made to the nation.
“He was a man who lived his entire life in service to his country,” said Lenderman, who was a guest speaker at the event. “The son of a sharecropper and one of five children, he became a public school teacher who went on to become a U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, Vice President and then President of the United States.”
This year’s ceremony is a continuation of the tradition started Aug. 27, 1973, by Johnson’s wife, Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson just a few months after the former president’s passing. The event is now sponsored by the National Park Service. This year’s ceremony honored what would have been the 110th anniversary of President Johnson’s birth.
Located about 50 miles west of Austin in the Texas Hill Country, the park protects the birthplace, home, ranch and final resting place of the 36th President of the United States. During Johnson’s administration, the LBJ Ranch was known as the “Texas White House” because the President spent about 25 percent of his time in office there.
While president, Johnson urged the nation “to build a great society, a place where the meaning of man’s life matches the marvels of man’s labor.”
“Thank you for the opportunity to celebrate the birth and legacy of a great Texan and a great president. It is truly an honor and my distinct pleasure to represent our armed forces, specifically the men and women of Joint Base San Antonio, as we celebrate one of our nation’s foremost leaders, Lyndon Baines Johnson,” Lenderman said.
“As 36th president of the United States, Johnson was many things, including a fighter,” the general added. “He fought for what he believed in. This morning, we did something that many people do at public events – we stood together and recited the Pledge of Allegiance – to one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Lyndon Baines Johnson was on a journey, and his journey was to make those words true for our country. He knew that we fought as a country for those beliefs.
“He crafted legislation and then made sure we breathed life into those words by weaving equality into the very fabric of our everyday society,” Lenderman said. “He crafted a series of legislative acts that became known as the ‘Great Society’ and the foundation of that was the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He worked hard, and he fought hard to make sure that legislation passed. In that journey, he urged people to come together to bring liberty and justice for all.
“He believed in the U.S. Constitution, and he had hope and faith in our democracy,” the general continued. “President Johnson led by example through his extraordinary public service and leadership. He had faith that our diversity was actually our strength and that when we work together, we are better.
“President Johnson lived a life of public service, and he called on each of us to stand together as one nation,” Lenderman said in conclusion. “His irrepressible efforts continue to inspire us toward a better life today. His vision was for a great society, a society with an unquenchable appetite for liberty and justice for all.”