JFK+50: Volume 6, No. 1836"TORMENTED" LBJ DIED 43 YEARS AGO TODAY
Stonewall, Texas (JFK+50) Forty-three years ago this afternoon, January 22, 1973, the 36th President of the United States Lyndon Baines Johnson died in his bedroom at the LBJ Ranch.
The former POTUS had suffered three heart attacks in his lifetime and was said to be "tormented" by the failures of the Vietnam War. LBJ died just two days after the end of President Richard M. Nixon's first term. Mr. Johnson had decided not to seek another term for himself in late March 1968.
According to The Atlantic, LBJ had commissioned a study in 1967 on his own life expectancy and was given a somber prediction...he would die at age 64. This meant that if re-elected in 1968, LBJ would not survive another term.**
His days of retirement were marked by chain-smoking cigarettes and frequent use of bottles of oxygen. Adding to his medical problems were psychological issues.
Historian Michael Beschloss writes...
"Feeling like an unappreciated outcast, (LBJ) often depressed, repeatedly listened to Simon and Garfunkel's 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'.*
Part of the song was heard for the first time on a CBS TV special, broadcast in Nov 1969. It was heard in the background as video clips of JFK, RFK and MLK were shown.
Elvis recorded the song in Nashville on June 5, 1970. Rolling Stone magazine rated it #47 in the '500 Greatest Songs of All Time'.
"BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER"
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
**Just as predicted, LBJ died at the age of 64.
"LBJ Agonized Over His Legacy," by Michael Beschloss, www.pbs.org, December 4, 2012.
"The Last Days of the President, LBJ in retirement," The Atlantic, July 1973, www.theatlantic.com/