01 Jul 10 Interesting American Independence Day Facts
American Independence Day, celebrated annually on the 4th of July, is a federal holiday in the United States of America commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation — the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire. In the spirit of this much anticipated holiday filled with barbecues, fireworks, and unending hot dogs, read on to find some lesser known facts about the day!
10. Happy 2nd of July or is it in July at all?
It was revealed by author Kenneth C. Davis that July 2nd is actually the more appropriate date to mark as the nation’s independence day, as Congress actually voted to declare independence on the 2nd, but only accepted Thomas Jefferson’s declaration two days later on the 4th of July. John Hancock and secretary Charles Thomson had signed an early printed version of the declaration, however, a majority of the other 54 men signed the official copy on August 2nd.
So if you want to sound like a history-buff at your family’s barbecue this year, point out that we’re celebrating the adoption of the Declaration, not the signing of it.
9. Commemorative Anniversaries on 4th of July
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, two of the founding fathers (and the only two signatories of the Declaration of Independence who later went on to serve as Presidents of the United States) died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration, on July 4th 1826. James Monroe—the nation’s fifth president—died just a few years later on July 4, 1831.
8. Multi-Location Independence Day!
it’s not just the United States that celebrates the 4th of July, Philippines and Rwanda also celebrate days of liberation on the 4th of July. In the Philippines, July 4th known as “Republic Day”, marks the date when the United States officially recognized the Philippines as an independent state in 1946. Rwandans celebrates “Liberation Day” on July 4.
7. Holiday Observance
Although Americans began observing fourth of July as early as 1777, with the first-ever major celebration in Philadelphia, including a parade, a thirteen-shot cannon salute and fireworks, Congress didn’t recognize the day as a major state holiday until 1870 – almost a hundred years later!
6. Birthdays on 4th of July
Calvin Coolidge, the country’s 30th president, remains the only president to be born on Independence Day. Others celebrating birthdays on July Fourth include, Nobel laureate and economist Gerard Debreu, Olympic gold medalist and tennis Hall of Fame Pam Shriver, and previous first daughter Malia Obama.
5. A Day for Hot Dogs
With an estimated 155 million hot dogs being consumed on Independence Day alone, Fourth of July is quite famously the country’s biggest hot dog holiday of the year. Despite the massive popularity for the snack, the origin of the hot dog is still disputed. Additionally, according to legend, on July 4, 1776, John Adams and his wife, Abigail, sat down for a celebratory meal of turtle soup, New England poached salmon with egg sauce, green peas and boiled new potatoes in jackets – no hot dogs were involved!
4. Most Patriotic State
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pennsylvania, the so-called “State of Independence,” where the Declaration of Independence was debated and signed, is home to 11 places with the word “liberty” in their name and 33 with the word “union” in them. It leads the country for the number of places with such names.
3. The Turkey As A Possible National Symbol?
A letter by Benjamin Franklin to his daughter in 1784 states that he was quite displeased with the choice of the bald eagle as the national symbol, stating it to be a “bird of bad moral character”. Franklin instead preferred the turkey, identifying it as a “Bird of Courage”.
2. Tapping for Liberty
Due to concerns about cracking the iconic symbol, the Liberty Bell has not been rung since 1846. Instead, every year, to mark the Fourth of July, the 2,000-pound bell is tapped 13 times to signal for bells across the country to start ringing.
1. Lighting up the Sky with Fireworks
It is reported by the American Pyrotechnics Association that over 15,000 fireworks light up the skies in the United States on the 4th of July, with most major towns spending up to $2 million and smaller towns averaging anywhere between $10,000 — $15,000 every year!
So there you have it – 10 interesting facts about the 4th July that perhaps you were not familiar with earlier. Let us know in the comments below if you already knew any of these facts, and if there are any other facts that you would like to share with our readers.
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