On this federal holiday, also known as Independence Day, marking the Colonies’ adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, which declared independence from the Great Britain and its king, we thought it would be appropriate to share some fun facts about this historic day.
We are already familiar with the fireworks, parades , barbeque and festivities like picnics, fairs, concerts and parties that take place on this day, but there are some things many people don’t know about the Fourth.
1. The only two signers of the Declaration of Independence who later served as President of the United States were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
2. Only John Hancock actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. All the others signed later.
3. President John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe all died on the Fourth. Adams and Jefferson (both signed the Declaration) died on the same day within hours of each other in 1826.
4. Congress made Independence Day an official unpaid holiday for federal employees in 1870. In 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday.
5. The White House held its first 4th July party in 1801.
6. Every 4th of July the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped (not actually rung) thirteen times in honor of the original thirteen colonies.
7. The stars on the original American flag were in a circle so all the Colonies would appear equal.
8. Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey as the national bird but was overruled by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who recommended the bald eagle.
9. Fireworks are part of the tradition of celebrating this national holiday. The U.S. imported $227.3 million worth of fireworks from China in 2012.
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