They were both dying. They were the last two left from that remarkable day, fifty years ago. And what strikes me on this Fourth of July is how much it mattered to them. Enough to sustain them through their own frailty, counting down the days to this half-century milestone.
Their years had dwindled to months, and months to days, but both of them struggled on…to make it to the Fourth one last time. To celebrate how much those ideas mattered, this new concept of a nation, this startling expression of the rights of the people governed. It mattered enough to struggle through each ragged breath, one after another, to make it to the Fourth.
Many have told the story of how Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on the same Fourth of July, fifty years after the Declaration of Independence. But what strikes me today is the difficult journey it must have been for them to get through those last days and weeks to make it. Sustained by an idea to which they’d dedicated their lives.
To demonstrate again just how much it mattered.