Lady Bird Johnson, who died this week at age 94, was a shy, unassuming woman. But as LBJ’s first lady, she became one of the most powerful environmentalists ever to occupy the White House.
Lady Bird almost single-handedly changed the nation’s landscape in the 1960s through her roadside wildflower program, the forerunner of today’s many highway greenscapes and urban beautification efforts.
Many people forget how ugly, littered and cluttered with billboards U.S. roadways were before Lady Bird began her push for a more scenic landscape. She was the first president’s wife to lobby Congress, and was a driving force behind passage of the 1965 Highway Beautification Act.
“My heart found its home long ago in the beauty, mystery, order and disorder of the flowering earth,” Lady Bird wrote a few years ago. “I wanted future generations to be able to savor what I had all my life.”
She left America a more beautiful place. How many public servants can claim as much?
Posted by Randy Scholfield
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