Happy Fourth of July

This is indeed a significant day and something to celebrate.  However, I am not sure many Americans know what they are celebrating beyond a parade, a cookout or a baseball game. 

The risks taken and sacrifices made by the Founders were monumental and likely unthinkable in today’s world.  We talk about tours of duty of a year or 18 months and yet many revolutionary soldiers we away from their families for years (yeah, I know many deserted too and left after their six month enlistment was up or when it was harvest or planting time, but many came back as well).  Their families had no resources but their own initiative, no insurance, no anything beyond what they could produce with their own hands.  Several of the leaders were gone for years on end in the service of their yet to be country knowing if they lost, they lost everything.  George Washington didn’t see Mount Vernon but once in eight years, Jefferson, Franklin and Adams were in Europe for years at a time. 

We owe a great deal to a relatively few people who did extraordinary things two hundred and thirty four years ago.

While at the opposite ends of the central power versus state power debate, and not talking to each other for a long period these two men reconciled later in life and corresponded regularly.  They both died fifty years after playing a major role in the birth of the United States. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826 within hours of one another.  I suspect they would have it no other way.  Reportedly, Adams last words were “Jefferson lives,” but Jefferson has died earlier in the day.

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