Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library

Our summer tour this year is starting out to be a very busy time.  There are so many interesting things to do here in Austin that we are discovering a new adventure every day.

Today, our Stop #7 was at The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.  This time Rebecca stayed home to keep Blayde company and Willis went sight-seeing with us.
LBJs Presidential Library is located on the northeast corner of the University of Texas campus in the downtown area of Austin.  Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Service is adjacent to the library as part of the U.T. campus.
We spent some time reviewing the historical exhibits on the main floor.  Pictures and notes transported us back to the eras of the 1960s and 70s and reminded us of events we had nearly forgotten: Kennedy assassination, civil rights demonstrations, the Vietnam War, race riots in Detroit,  "the War on Poverty," Medicare and Medicaid, and the "Six Days' War" in the Middle East.  They were turbulent times for our nation and for this man who had been thrust into the presidency by tragedy.
On the floor above, Level 4, the exhibits focused upon LBJs presidency.  One of the most memorable was a display of the metal dogtags of the members of the military from Texas who were killed in Vietnam during LBJs presidency.  It was chilling to view row upon row of silent metal tributes to lives cut short too soon.
A reconstruction of LBJs Oval Office in the White House of his day (seven-eighths scale size) was the main attraction on Level 10. 
His desk he brought with him from earlier political offices and his rocking chair sat in stark contrast to the elegant couches provided for his guests.
Lady Bird Johnson's office, too, has been recreated, and the Medal of Freedom presented to her by President Gerald Ford in 1977 is on display.
The tenth floor of the library gave us a lovely view of the downtown Austin skyline.
We enjoyed seeing the city but were glad to return to our peaceful and quiet camp sites at the State Park.  There we discovered that a sticky stowaway had taken up residence on the tire of our rig.
What excitement will Stop #8 bring?  Even we, ourselves, don't know yet!