One of my adult daughters was on a vacation cruise last year and participated in a trivia contest. She emailed me to report that one of the questions was: “What is the first word of the Declaration of Independence?” Before reading on, I knew that she got it right.
I thought about that yesterday, when I had the privilege of viewing a copy of the Declaration, written in Thomas Jefferson’s own hand, on display at the New York Public Library. I learned that Jefferson, perhaps unhappy with some of the editing of the Continental Congress, had sent copies of his final draft to 6 of his friends, in which he underlined portions that had been cut. Two of these copies still exist, and one is in the permanent collection of the Library. It is rarely displayed because of its fragility, but there it was – 2 modest sized sheets, written on both sides, with some of the most stirring, enduring and significant words every written. Continue reading Independence Day