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Archive for July 13th, 2007

Portrait of a Lady

Posted by MEC on July 13, 2007

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Jim Hardin was the Secret Service agent in charge of the security detail for Lady Bird Johnson.

We’ve lost a true friend,” he said from his home in Fredericksburg, as he prepared for the emotional trip. “She was the most gracious and kind and considerate lady I have ever known in my life. In 22 years, I never saw her be visibly upset with anybody.”


“It’s hard to put into words,” he said. “We were a very small detail, and we covered her 24 hours a day. We got to see and do everything she got to see and do. I used to tell her, ‘Mrs. J, I can’t thank you enough. I had two boyhood dreams — to see China and to see Africa. You took me to both.’ ”

As Johnson and her agents traveled the globe, she always visited museums, always chatted with strangers and always asked questions.

Johnson understood and appreciated that the agents shared her interest.

“We’d be in a museum, and when she was ready to leave she would turn to us and ask if we were ready or if we wanted to look a little longer,” Hardin said.


One might think, Hardin said, that protecting an old woman would be tedious work, or that agents might hunger for flashier assignments, the ones covering “the big boys.”

Not those who passed in and out of Johnson’s life. Lots of agents, said Hardin, stayed in touch until the very end.

May we have such graciousness in the White House again, soon.

(H/T Caprice in Salon’s Table Talk)

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