Happy Independence Day! That is what the 4th of July is all about. How did we get here? What does it all mean?
The 4th of July has always been a day of fireworks and hotdogs. Moreover, it is often portrayed in numerous works of art, from poems to songs and even in films. While it might be one of the most historic events in the U.S., it sometimes loses its real meaning in celebration events. I did some research I’d like to share. Take a refresher, digest a few interesting 4th of July facts for this year’s Independence Day recognition.
4th of July Facts
- On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of declaring independence from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was officially adopted two days later, marked by the ringing of the Liberty Bell at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
- John Adams believed that American independence should be celebrated on July 2, as that’s the actual day the Continental Congress voted for independence in 1776. “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epoch, in the History of America,” Adams wrote in a letter to his wife on July 3 of that year. “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.” Although our Independence Day celebrations fall on a different date, today’s July 4 festivities would look familiar to Adams, who called for people to celebrate the day with “Pomp and Parade, with Shows, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
- The Declaration of Independence was not signed on July 4, 1776. That’s actually the day it was formally adopted by the Continental Congress, but it wasn’t signed by most signatories until August.
- Americans typically eat 150 million hot dogs on Independence Day, “enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. more than five times,” according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.
- Three presidents have died on July 4: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Monroe.
- Other early July 4 traditions have not carried through to the present day. Some colonists celebrated the day by holding mock funerals for England’s King George III, as a way of reinforcing America’s victory over the British monarchy, according to History.com.
- The Fourth of July was celebrated annually throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and in 1870, Congress declared the day a federal holiday. But it wasn’t until 1941 that the date became a paid federal holiday for federal employees.
- Annoyed that Independence Day wasn’t celebrated on July 2, Adams reportedly turned down invitations to July 4 celebrations throughout his life.
- Massachusetts became the first state to make the 4th of July an official state holiday in 1781.
- President Zachary Taylor died in 1850after eating spoiled fruit at a July 4 celebration.
- The famed Macy’s fireworks show in New York City uses more than 75,000 fireworks shells and costs about $6 million.
- Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest is held annually on July 4. In 2018, champion Joey Chestnut ate 74 hot dogs with buns in just 10 minutes.
- Independence Day became a federal holiday in 1870.
- As of 2016, July 4 was the number one holiday for beer sales in the U.S., according to the National Beer Wholesalers Association.
- In 1778, George Washington gave his soldiers a double ration of rum to celebrate the July 4 holiday.
- Every July 4, descendants of the signers of the Declaration of Independence tap the Liberty Bell13 times in honor of the original 13 colonies.
- Eating salmon is a July 4 tradition in parts of New England.
- Small towns in the U.S. typically spend between $8,000 and $15,000 on their fireworks displays.
- President Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872.
- About 16,000 July 4 fireworks displays happen around the country each year, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.
- With many fireworks shows canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, the American Pyrotechnics Association is asking for financial help from Congress to keep family-run fireworks businesses afloat.
- Starting in 1818, new stars and stripes were added to the American flag each July 4 to make the creation of new states.
- The U.S. Flag Code offers guidelines for flying the flag on July 4, and every day.
- John Hancock has the largest signature on the Declaration of Independence.
- The first July 4 celebration took place at the White House on 1801, hosted by Thomas Jefferson.
- One World Trade Center in New York is 1,776 feet tall to mark the year the U.S. declared its independence from Britain.
So there you go, there are many facts and events to get us where we are today. The fight for freedom is an unending task and we thank our United States Armed Forces, the less than 1% that keep us safe.
God Bless America and God Bless our Soldiers!