By Connie S. Hall
I always look forward to celebrating the birth of our nation. Our entire country commemorates with parades, picnics, and fireworks. I wonder how many people know why we have this holiday. They all take advantage of the celebration, but many of them don’t stand in respect as we sing our national anthem. Several of them ignore the flags as they pass by during the parade. To me, freedom is everything.
I’m glad for the liberty I have to read what I want. I love stories about our founding fathers, pilgrims, and pioneers. Their life adventures make me feel like a wimp, but I certainly admire the struggles they endured.
One of my favorite presidents was John Adams, and his adorable wife Abby. Benjamin Franklin said, “He means well for his country, and is always an honest man, often a wise one, but sometimes, in some things, absolutely out of his senses.” Many people said he was a blunt-speaking man of independent mind.
In June 1776, Congress appointed Adams, together with Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston, to prepare the Declaration of Independence. For eight years, he served as vice president to George Washington, and then in 1796 the people elected him president of our nation.
He lived for a quarter century after he left the presidency, during which time he wrote at length. I don’t think we could find a better example of a good writer. Among some of his writings are The Works of John Adams, The Adams-Jefferson Letters, Diary and Autobiography, The Papers of John Adams, and The Political Writings of John Adams.
During the last few years of his life, he slept among his treasured 3,200 books, and liked to write his thoughts with his pen in the margins. Can you imagine having that many books? I think I’d feel as though I were in heaven. Until his eyes became bad, he would rise at 5 am every morning to have plenty of time for reading. He would also read late into the night. I haven’t acquired the habit of getting up early to read, but I certainly read and write late into the night.
As the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the declaration drew close, two of the founders were determined to live long enough to see that day. It finally arrived, and they had both made it. John Adams and his friend, and political rival Thomas Jefferson both went to their heavenly home together on that anniversary, July 4, 1826. On this day, this year I will think of both of these great men and give thanks for their lives, and the freedom I have.
John Adams said, “Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.” I hope each of you have a good holiday and that you follow the example of John Adams and dare to read, think, speak, and write.