In 1816, Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Adams and remarked: “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”

Tomorrow, as we gather at barbecues and parades to celebrate the anniversary of our nation’s birth, it’s a time to thank all who have fought for and defended our freedom … and it’s a time to honor their sacrifice by looking toward the future so we can continue their legacy.

When the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia 243 years ago, they didn’t know what the future would hold — or what their legacy would be. 

Would they win the war against an empire? Would they suffer defeat and be tried for treason? They had no idea they had laid the cornerstone for one of the most unique and innovative countries the world has ever seen. They didn’t even know whether they could hold the colonies together long enough to prevail. As Founding Father (and founder of the nation’s first hospital) Benjamin Franklin said at the time: “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

But they signed it anyway — because they believed in a brighter future. And their courage and dedication have led to a world that may have been beyond their wildest dreams — industrialization, space flight and moon landings, medical miracles unthinkable at their time, and the spark of liberty they lit spreading across the globe. 

In the health care field, we are doing our best to honor the legacy of our Founding Fathers. We are innovating, we are developing new treatments, we are saving lives, performing miracles and keeping people healthy. And the women and men of America’s hospitals and health systems are dreaming up the future of health care.

So to all our hospital and health system leaders, thank you for encouraging innovation among your teams…nurturing big dreams for our field…and working tirelessly to advance health in America.

We have an important legacy to uphold, and it’s an honor to be your partner in this.

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