One of the most meaningful days of September was when my daughter Alexandra came for a visit, timed in order to join me to hear the Pulitzer Prize–winning historian, biographer and teacher Jon Meacham talk in Hingham, Massachusetts.
Just two days before his lecture, I watched Jon Meacham on the television screen announcing that Queen Elizabeth had died. I can’t imagine a more gentle voice to soften the blow of her inevitable death at the home she dearly loved, at 96. His words were full of respect and admiration for the way she handled herself for over 70 years as the Queen of England.
Her sense of duty and service to the country she so dearly loved is exemplary. Jon Meacham’s voice and deeply felt, well-chosen words comforted me as I absorbed the magnitude of her contribution. The coincidence of my learning about the Queen’s death from a man I so greatly admire increased my excitement of being able to see him two days later in the flesh.
His lecture focus was “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels,” based on his New York Times number one bestselling book. Meacham’s focus was to remind us of our resilience and our ability to recover, to return to our American democratic principles. We were encouraged to be reminded of our history as we face our present challenges. We have candor to freely communicate basic truths, and pragmatic empathy, to reach out to our fellow Americans who hold different political views.
Jon Meacham’s wit, intelligence and rich love of history, combined with his passion for the people he admires and writes about, inspired our better angels and gave us hope, renewing our faith in good over evil.