One particular day in January of 1973 was historic in more ways than one…yesterday in La Crosse. January 22nd of ’73 was the first Monday in Richard Nixon’s second term as president. Nixon had been inaugurated two days before, after winning 49 states in the fall election. Because of the Watergate scandal, Nixon would be out of office before the halfway point of that second term. His predecessor, Lyndon Johnson, died unexpectedly that Monday the 22nd. He was 64 years old. Johnson could have served as president until ’73 if he had run in the 1968 election, but he withdrew as a candidate after Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy became primary opponents.
Johnson died in Texas the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court knocked down a Texas law banning abortions, effectively making abortion legal around the country. One of the parties in that legal case was Dallas district attorney Henry Wade, and the ruling became known as the ‘Roe versus Wade’ decision. Also on January 22nd of 1973, Texas native George Foreman won the heavyweight boxing title in Jamaica, defeating champion Joe Frazier. That was 1973…yesterday in La Crosse.