1973: Bidding ‘Master of the Senate’ Farewell

Posted October 27, 2004 at 3:59pm

[IMGCAP(1)]The final weeks of January brought “cheers and tears” with President Richard Nixon’s second inauguration and the death of former President Lyndon Johnson.

Johnson, 64, died of a heart attack on Jan. 22, 1973, just two days after the inauguration. His death came one month after another president, Harry Truman, died on Dec. 26, 1972.

Nixon made the news and history when he declared that flags be at half-staff for 30 days to honor Johnson, as reported in the Jan. 25 issue of Roll Call. The call was a historic one because flags were already at half-staff for Truman.

“U.S. flags have been flying at half-mast since former President Harry S. Truman died; another 30 days will make it 60 days, the longest period ever,” Roll Call reported.

Friends remembered Johnson, profiled as “Master of the Senate” by author Robert Caro, as a giant leader, not only for his stature but also his accomplishments.

“The really sad thing about President Johnson’s death is the fact that he did not live long enough to be rewarded with his proper place in history,” then-Rep. Wright Patman (D-Texas) told Roll Call.