Monday, 16 July 2007

Lady Bird Johnson laid to rest

JOHNSON CITY, Texas — Past the yellow tufts of sunflowers that stayed late into summer and the unobscured green hills, past red, white and blue U.S. and Texas flags and dozens of neighbors holding wildflower bouquets, Lady Bird Johnson returned to the place she called "heart's home."

The procession bearing her hearse followed a 65-mile route that she had traveled so often, from Austin to her beloved ranch, where she was buried Sunday next to her husband, former President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who died in 1973.

Along the route, thousands paid tribute to the former first lady, who while belonging to a nation, was especially embraced by these people in lawn chairs, holding umbrellas against the sun, who rose, pulled off their hats and applauded as the 30-car processional passed.

"My passion and love of wildflowers are in part from Lady Bird," said Diane Hayden, who traveled from Austin to watch the cortege arrive in Johnson City. "It's a deep love that goes through and through, and I feel like there's a connection between Lady Bird and me."