Happy 2nd of July! –Continental Congress actually voted for independence on July 2, 1776. John Adams wrote that July 2nd would go down in American history as a day of remembrance and would be celebrated with fireworks. Although the written Declaration of Independence was dated July 4th, the document wasn’t actually signed until August 2nd and even then, not all signees were in attendance. Eventually, however, 56 delegates would sign the Declaration of Independence.
Founding Fathers’ Final Days – The Fourth of July was further solidified as the day of remembrance when both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on July 4th, 1826 – exactly 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the declaration, which was then edited by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.
Finally Getting Recognized – Although it has been celebrated since its onset, the Fourth of July was not officially made into a national holiday until almost 100 years later. In 1870, Congress passed a bill acknowledging multiple holidays at a national level, among which was Independence Day, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Hot Diggity Dog! – For many Americans, the Fourth of July means parades, fireworks and lots of barbeques. It is reported that about 150 million hot dogs are consumed on the Fourth of July alone.
Let Freedom Ring – The Liberty Bell first rang on July 8th, 1776 to invite Philadelphia citizens to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. It is said that the bell has not been rung since 1846, when it was used in celebration of George Washington’s birthday. In an attempt to preserve the bell, instead of ringing, it is tapped 13 times to signal for other bells around the country to begin ringing.
Early 4th of July Celebrations – It is figured that Americans began observing the Fourth of July as early as 1777. The first major celebration occurred in Philadelphia and included a parade, fireworks, and a thirteen-shot cannon salute symbolizing the 13 colonies. In addition, the oldest, continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States is the Fourth of July Parade in Bristol, Rhode Island, which began in 1785.
Lighting Up the Night Sky – According to the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA), an estimated 14,000 professional firework displays can be seen throughout the United States on the Fourth of July.
Yankee Doodle Went to Town – Although it is a favorite American tune now, the old time classic “Yankee Doodle” was originally sung by British military officers during the French and Indian Wars in an effort to mock the inexperienced American colonists who fought alongside them.
Land of the Free and Home of the Brave – Francis Scott Key penned the infamous “Star Spangled Banner” during the War of 1812. However, it was not decreed the official national anthem of the United States until 1931.
Stars and Stripes – The 50 stars on the U.S. flag represent the 50 states in the union. Stars were used as a symbol of the heavens and man’s divine aspirations. The flag also has 13 stripes to represent the 13 original colonies; they are symbolic of the rays of light coming from the sun.