January 22, 2013
LBJ DIED 40 YEARS AGO TODAY
Stonewall, Texas (JFK+50) Lyndon B. Johnson, JFK's Vice-President & 36th President of the United States, passed away 40 years ago today, on January 22, 1973 at the LBJ Ranch.
Lyndon Baines Johnson
LBJ Library Photo
The date of LBJ's death was just 2 days after the end of Richard Nixon's 1st term, the term that LBJ might have completed.
LBJ made the decision in March 1968 to not seek renomination for the Presidency.
The former president had suffered 3 major heart attacks, the 1st being in 1955, but despite warnings from his physicians, LBJ continued chain smoking, overeating & drinking too much.
LBJ was in his bedroom at the time of the last heart attack & was pronounced dead at 4:33 p.m. (CST).
In his last days, LBJ was tormented by the failure of the Vietnam War.
Historian Michael Beschloss writes...
"Feeling like an unappreciated outcast, (LBJ) often depressed, repeatedly listened to Simon & Garfunkel's 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'.*
*'Bridge Over Troubled Water', written by Paul Simon & sung by Art Garfunkel, was recorded on Jan. 26, 1970. Within 2 days it was #1 on the charts & stayed there for 6 weeks.
Part of the song was heard for the 1st time on a CBS TV special, broadcast in Nov 1969. It was heard in the background as video clips of JFK, RFK & MLK were shown.
Elvis recorded the song in Nashville on June 5, 1970 & Rolling Stone rated it #47 in the '500 Greatest Songs of All Time'.
When you're weary
When tears are in your eyes
And friends just can't be found
If you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind
Like a bridge
Over troubled water
I will ease your mind
There has been a debate about whether or not JFK would have kept LBJ on the ticket in 1964. Evelyn Lincoln, JFK's personal secretary, wrote in her book 'Kennedy & Johnson' that the President discussed the issue just 3 days before his death.
JFK was sitting in a rocker in Mrs. Lincoln's office when she asked, 'Who is your choice as a running mate (in 1964)?'
The President answered without hesitating....
"I am thinking about TERRY SANFORD of North Carolina. But it will not be Lyndon."
Mrs. Lincoln writes she was not shocked by his answer.
"LBJ Agonized Over His Legacy," by Michael Beschloss, www.pbs.org, December 4, 2012.
"Kennedy & Johnson," by Evelyn Lincoln, Holt, Rhinehart & Winston, New York, 1968.
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