John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the only two Presidents of the United States who were also signers of the Declaration of Independence. Many mistakenly think that George Washington was a signer, but he was busy working on getting the Continental Army ready for the ensuing battle. And of course we know that Washington was the first President. Adams followed him and Jefferson in turn followed Adams.
The fact that these two men were signers is in and of itself quite interesting, but another interesting touch of fate involved them as well as our nation's birthday. You see, on July 4, 1826, both Adams and Jefferson died. Adams was at his home in Massachusetts and Jefferson was at his beloved Monticello, pictured above, where he loved to look down on Charlottesville and his beloved University of Virginia which he founded in that town. Adams died about four hours before Jefferson and I'm sure that each was at some point thinking of the other on their last day.
While Adams and Jefferson were quite different with quite varied political and social views, they maintained a vigorous correspondence in their later years and wrote frequent and lengthy letters about current events and their lives in retirement. Both men loved America deeply and they are representative of a different time when politicians, in the case of these gentlemen patriots, could figure out a way to overcome their differences and come up with solutions that all could live with. Oh to have that Spirit of 1776 alive today when we truly need it.
I think it's also noteworthy to mention that on this date, July 3, only thirty seven years after the death of these two great men, a divided nation was in the throes of a civil war and the Battle of Gettysburg concluded following the failure of Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. It just shows how quickly things and times can change. Hopefully we Americans can learn from our history with the grace of God at our side.