An Independence Day article cross-posted from the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center. Worth a read the day after.
These words were uttered by John Adams, as a toast to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Iindependence. Those words were also among his last as both he and Thomas Jefferson died that very day, that very year, on July 4, 1826.
It is not uncommon to hear of someone dying after getting an emotional closure they had long been seeking. In hospice care, when someone lingers long and is suffering, the caregivers are exhorted to plumb the depths and determine what closure they need so they can pass on peacefully. Sometimes it will be one last hug or kiss from a loved one they haven’t seen in a while, other times it will be permission to go from those they are leaving behind, and sometimes it is simply the certainty that their life mattered, that they will be remembered, that their legacy and heritage will live on.
I suspect that it was more than just a coincidence that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day, 50 years after the first Independence Day. The passion of their life was spent securing liberty for their families, their nation, and those who would follow. Benjamin Franklin, in answering a question about what type of government we were to have, said “a republic if you can keep it”. Clearly the founders were concerned that their sacrifices may be for nothing, that the effort to secure liberty may ultimately fail. Perhaps celebrating the 50th anniversary of their independence was a sort of closure for them, an important symbolic milestone that the republic would survive and endure.Details