On the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, while the people of the young United States were celebrating with cannons, hymns, and fireworks, two of the nation’s greatest patriots lay on their deathbeds. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two of the only three living signers of the Declaration, died only hours apart from one another on that significant day. The poignancy of this coincidence has always struck me. What are the odds? It is generally known that both of these venerable Patriots knew their end was approaching and purposefully “held on” (as much as a mortal can) until the fourth. But still! Jefferson was eight years younger, and Adams lived to an unusual 91 years old. It just seems so beautifully fortuitous. The significance was not lost on the people of the time, either. John Quincy Adams called it a “visible and palpable” manifestation of “Divine favor” (David McCullough, John Adams, p647), and honestly, I have to agree. But amidst our celebrations of our founding, I can’t help but think of the hymn we often sing at church, “This is my Song.” Written in 1934 by Lloyd Stone, it reminds us that as much as we love our own country, there are people all over the world who love their own just as passionately. Happy Fourth of July to our American readers and may God bless all nations.
This is My Song, 1934
This is my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my sacred shrine.
But other hearts in other lands are beating,
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
O hear my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.