American Independence Day, also referred to as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday 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!
Happy 2nd of July?
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.
4th of July Anniversaries
Oddly enough, two of the founding fathers (and the only two signers 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, July 4th 1826.
Multi-Location Independence Day!
Not just the United States celebrate on this day, but the Philippines and Rwanda also celebrate days of liberation of the 4th of July. In the Southeast Asian nation, July 4, known as “Republic Day,” marks the date when the United States officially recognized the Philippines as an independent state in 1946. Rwandans celebrate “Liberation Day” on July 4.
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!
4th of July Birthdays
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.
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!
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.
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”.
Tapping for Liberty
Due to concerns about cracking the iconic instrument, 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. So there you have it – fun facts about the 4th July! Celebrate in style by learning American English to sound like a native!