Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I hope you don't need the Blog of Days to decide what to celebrate today

Yes, in America we still celebrate the 4th of July on the Fourth of July -- even when the 4th doesn't fall on a Monday.

A lot of the other holidays are jealous.

But here's a little patriotic nugget for you to use at your barbecue this afternoon: It was on this day in 1826 that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died.

Jefferson had been fading for awhile and he'd been bedridden for some time before his death. A fever proved to be the last straw. He woke up, briefly, on the evening of the 3rd, and asked his doctor if it was the 4th yet. No, he was told, but it soon would be. Jefferson held on for another 17 hours.

Meanwhile, up in Massachusetts, John Adams, 90 years young, deaf as a post, had been alert until nearly the last. From Wikipedia, "Told that it was the Fourth, he answered clearly, 'It is a great day. It is a good day.' His last words have been reported as 'Thomas Jefferson survives.'" For the very last time, poor Adams was wrong again: Jefferson had expired a few hours earlier.

And not even George Lucas has tried to change that.

You already knew that one?

Then you probably also knew that John Adams lived long enough to see his son, John Quincy Adams, elected President of the United States (even if Andrew Jackson's embittered supporters charged that Adams, Jr. only won because of a 'Corrupt Bargain.')

But you may not have known that James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States, and the last of the so-called Virginia Dynasty, died on this date in 1831.

And it's a cinch you don't know that Calvin Coolidge was born on this date in 1872.

Silent Cal was became president on the death of Warren G. Harding. Elected to a full term in his own right in 1924, Coolidge was succeeded in office by Herbert Hoover.

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