Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy 4th!


I'd like to share the final passage from one of my favorite books, Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis. I'm not sure how many people know the story of the deaths of two of the greatest Americans that ever lived, the 2nd and 3rd Presidents and longtime friends, they died on the same day, the 4th of July, exactly 50 years after the founding of the United States:
On the evening of July 3, 1826, Jefferson fell into a coma. His last discernible words, uttered to the physician and family gathered around the bedside, indicated he was hoping to time his exit in dramatic fashion: "Is it the Fourth?" It was not, but he lingered in a semiconscious condition until shortly after noon on the magic day. The same morning, Adams collapsed in his favorite reading chair. He lapsed into unconsciousness at almost the exact moment Jefferson died. The end came quickly, at about five-thirty that afternoon. He wakened for a brief moment, indicated that nothing more should be done to prolong the inevitable, then, with obvious effort, gave a final salute to his old friend with his last words: "Thomas Jefferson survives," or by another account, "Thomas Jefferson still lives." Whatever the version, he was wrong for the moment but right for the ages.

From time to time, day to day, it's easy to forget that there is something magical about this country. Between beers and hot dogs, take a moment to reflect. Happy 4th!


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