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NEWS | Aug. 30, 2021

Ceremony celebrates legacy of President Lyndon Baines Johnson

By Kathleen Salazar 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

“President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s service to this nation was invaluable,” said Army Col. Bryan L. Logan, Joint Base San Antonio Deputy Commander and 502nd Air Base Wing Vice Commander, during a private wreath-laying ceremony Aug. 27 at the Johnson Family Cemetery in Stonewall, Texas.

Johnson worked as a high school teacher and as a congressional aide before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1937 and won election to the U.S Senate from Texas in 1948. He became vice president in 1960 and was sworn in as the 36th President following the assassination of John F. Kennedy Nov. 22, 1963, and then won by the popular vote as U.S. President in 1964.

“As president, he was many things … including a fighter,” Logan said. “He fought for what he believed in.  So much so, after taking office he declared a ‘war on poverty.’” 

He launched a set of domestic programs that would expand civil rights, public broadcasting, Medicare, Medicaid, rural development, aid to urban education and public services and the arts.

“President Johnson lived a life of public service and called on all of us to stand together as one nation. His irrepressible efforts continue to inspire us toward a better life today,” Logan added. “His vision was for a great society, a society with an unquenchable desire for liberty and justice for all.

“Today, we commemorate that vision with this wreath ceremony,” Logan added. “And tomorrow, we continue to work toward that vision: a society that lives and breathes and holds its very existence in ways that always empower liberty and justice … for all.”

 The Johnson cemetery is part of Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. Located about 50 miles west of Austin in the Texas Hill Country, the park protects the birthplace, home, ranch and where LBJ spent about 25 percent of his time in office there. The ceremony took place on what would have been Johnson’s 113th birthday.

The keynote speaker at the event was LBJ’s lifelong friend and author, Neal Spelce, who noted there is another legacy Johnson left to those who are fortunate to call this area home-his family.

“All of us in this great part of the country have benefitted – and are still benefitting – from the example and great works of this giant of a man and his inspiring family.”

“Look at Lady Bird Johnson and all she accomplished for people in Central Texas,” Spelce said. "There’s the development of a downtown Austin park-and-trail alongside the lake and the establishment of an internationally known botanic garden at the University of Texas, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

“Luci Johnson, his youngest daughter, has made a home in Austin and she is involved in many charities, especially in the healthcare area.”

“We have to renew our commitment to improving our society,” said Luci Baines Johnson Turpin. “I always wanted to be like my father, to be a healer for social justice.”

“LBJ’s granddaughter, Catherine Robb, has taken leadership roles in many endeavors that enhance the lives of people,” Spelce added. “LBJ set an example of service to people. One of his four favorite quotes etched on a pylon in the LBJ Library reads ‘The Great Society asks not how much, but how good; not only how to create wealth, but how to use it; not only how fast we are going, but where we are headed. It proposes as the first test for a nation: the quality of its people.”