Funny how I can live a lifetime in one town and still see new things even in my seventh decade in Washington.
I’ve driven by the Lyndon B. Johnson Memorial Grove many times, but always in a hurry to be elsewhere. Looking for some exercise on a warm afternoon, I played hooky and stopped by the memorial.
The memorial is technically in Washington on Columbia Island as part of a small, sleepy marina within sight of the Pentagon. It was chosen for its view of Washington across the Potomac River. The giant granite monolith from Texas was dedicated in 1973 less than one year after the 36th president’s death. The grove of dogwood and white pine trees leads to long walks of solitude despite overhead planes heading for Reagan National Airport and plenty of commuters whizzing by.
Johnson and First Lady Ladybird Johnson loved the outdoors and worked hard to keep the environment clean. Indeed, Ladybird was behind the billboard act that stopped more roadside ads from cluttering our views.
This memorial seems a modest reminder of a powerful president. I visited LBJ’s presidential library in Austin, Texas in 2018 and it was impressive. So was the nearby wildflower reserve dedicated to Ladybird.
The memorial has plenty of parking and a restroom and is only a few minutes walk to the monolith. The recording of three Ladybird sayings doesn’t work.
Take a breath from your busy day and stop by to remember LBJ.