Day 10 – 2015 Transcontinental Trip

By the numbers:

  • 126 miles, all in Texas from Fredericksburg to San Antonio – 2726 total miles for the trip.
  • highest temp:  93.
  • elevation continues to drop:  down to 650 feet in San Antonio.
  • still at 8 total states for the trip.
  • Licence plates spotted: Alabama, West Virginia, and Minnesota – 40 total for the trip plus 3 Canadian provinces.
  • One new National Park:  2 sites – LBJ National Historic Sites at both Stonewall and Johnson City, Texas.  The Stonewall site includes President Johnson’s birthplace and ranch.  The Johnson City site is a Museum covering an overview of his presidency. – 13 total park sites for the trip.
  • One other Museum – The Airman Heritage Museum on base at Lackland Airforce Base.

To my surprise I real enjoyed our time in the Hill Country region of Texas.  Very pretty, reasonable weather, and many interesting places to go.

I was very affected going to the LBJ national park sites.  I always enjoy traveling to places where my ancestors lived because it gives me a feel for the what it might have been like for them to live in a particular place.  Similarly there was something quite affecting about seeing and walking about on the same land and in the same house as this great historical figure.   I know many people associate him only with the Vietnam War, but my connection to him has always been Civil Rights.  Reviewing the many accomplishments of his presidency stands in sharp contrast to the past 15 to 20 years in our country’s leadership.  His presidency was a time when the focus was on identifying problems and actually doing something to try to improve the situation.  There were over 200 major national pieces of legislation put into law during his time, affecting civil rights, poverty, education, health care, the arts, the environment and much more.  The author, Taylor Branch, whose 3 part series on American in the 50’s and 60’s is essential reading for any history buff has said that 3 pieces of legislation personally pushed through by Johnson made more of a change in our society than any other legislation in the past century:  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (marking the beginning of the end of official segregation in the South), the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (outlawing many of the practices used to keep Blacks in the south from exercising their fundamental right  to vote), and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (which abolished the old explicitly racial quota system of legal immigration into this country).

The first of those laws, as it applies to our nations schools and colleges, is what I spent the entire 34 years of my federal government employment working to implement and enforce.  For me that law and subsequent additions which strive to ensure that everyone in this country has an equal assess to educational opportunities without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, or disability, are foundational to what is unique and great about our country.  Obviously, I could go on but let me just repeat how moved I was to visit such well created and presented memorials to this man.

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