It's 9pm, July 3rd in 1826. The man speaking these words has had a most remarkable life. Born and raised in the most powerful colony in America, a Governor of Virginia, the author of the Declaration of Independence, the 3rd President of these United States, the Founder of the University of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson lay dying, however he hung on for another 12 hours, passing peacefully on the 4th. Fifty years after the birth of his famous document.
Five hundred miles to the north, his close friend and former rival was also fading. John Adams had preceded Jefferson into the Presidency, was his partner in creating the Declaration, traveled together through Europe and were completely opposed in terms of temperament and political ideals. So much so that they stopped talking. For fifteen years. Until time faded the adversarial emotions and gave way to fond memories. Adams slipped away late in the afternoon on the same day. Aware of the significance of the date, Adams uttered "Thomas Jefferson survives" before dying. Unfortunately, he was in error as his friend had passed only a few hours earlier.
It should come as no surprise that we're huge Patriots and fans of America. We also have a large amount of reverence for the first Americans, the Founding Fathers. They actually risked their lives in pursuit of their ideals, mainly that we as a country were pretty much able to take care of ourselves. The British certainly learned that the hard way.
The story of Jefferson and Adams is one of our favorites from the Revolution and we always think of them on this day, the 4th. For a decade and a half, following their Presidencies, they took every opportunity to belittle and insult each other, privately and publicly. And then they became best friends, writing to each other religiously for the next decade. They never saw each other and didn't have the benefit of skype, email or Twitter. Instead, they worked at their friendship through writing and the legacy of the Adams-Jefferson letters is one of the coolest, most incredible American history lessons one could ask for. Download it now- it's great beach reading.
Why do we care? Because, it's America's birthday and we owe it to Men like Jefferson and Adams to dedicate ourselves to things we believe in. It's more than a coincidence that these Founding Fathers risked everything to free America and then gave exactly the next 50 years of their lives to making the country better.
So Happy Independence Day! Make it an American one!