Born on this day in Karnack, Texas, Claudia Alta Taylor was nicknamed Lady Bird (1912-2007) as a child. The bookish, southern belle graduated from the University of Texas with a Journalism degree and married Lyndon Johnson in 1934.
"The way you overcome shyness is to become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid," she once said.
Considered a political asset who genuinely liked public life, Lady Bird helped her husband greatly as First Lady (1963-1969) calling herself "a sounding board." Her sweetness softened her husband's abrasive persona.
President Johnson often praised his compliant partner as "the most wonderful wife a man can have" and "my dearest running-mate."
Mrs. Johnson's own diplomatic take was, "I've spent 30 years learning the particular role of helper; I do not see myself as one in the front, although I do not pass lightly over my contributions."
To "sow some seeds of interest in nationwide beautification," she successfully spearheaded legislation to tear down billboards on interstate highways not zoned "commercial or industrial" and plant wildflowers along the side of the road.
The passionate environmentalist received the Congressional Gold Medal for The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Research Center, founded in 1982. In October 2002, she and her Committee for a More Beautiful Capital were selected as the first recipients of the U.S. National Arboretum's Gold Medal Award.
"Lady Bird Johnson has dedicated so much time and energy throughout her life to beautifying America," Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said. "To her credit, she has sustained this effort and built upon it, providing inspiration and encouraging community involvement throughout the country."
Within you can find the strength to cope.