Monday, July 04, 2005

Independence Day is Halloween for Patriots

Happy 4th of July! Since, despite my original intentions, I've been posting this whole weekend, there seemed no reason not to post today.

In gratitude for my birth as an American, a happenstance I neither merited nor caused, I will focus on a strange fact which I learned only this morning, a strange circumstance of death.

Today we celebrate the adoption, in 1776, of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress. On its 50th anniversary, in 1826, two of the original signers who also served as President, died, aged but celebrated, succumbing at home to natural causes. Here are the final details of John Adams' life and a charmingly florid obituary of Thomas Jefferson. Later, in 1831, America's fifth president would also die on July 4th, again of old age in the house of his son-in-law, then the governor of New York. Here the link to James Monroe's obituary.

Excerpting from TJ's obit which noted the "coincidence marvellous and enviable" :

"...having seen fulfilled and surpassed all that in the most daring aspirations of youthful hope and ardor, they had ventured to anticipate for their country, and having attained to the highest honours which a grateful nation could pay, could no longer worthily linger upon earth."

Three of America's first five presidents all died on Independence Day. Boo!

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