Independence Day celebrations have always been a mix of parades, fireworks, barbecued food and fun. but the revelry aside, does your kids know why the 4th of July is such a big event?
Teach your kids the significance of this very important date in American history as you sit back, eat your hotdogs, drink your chilled drinks while enjoying that spectacular fireworks display nearby.
Here are fun facts about the 4th of July.
- While July 4 is heralded as the day the Declaration of Independence was signed signifying the birth of the United States of America, in truth, only 2 people signed the Declaration of Independence on this date — John Hancock and Charles Thomson who was, at that time, the Secretary of Congress. The others signed the document on August 2.
- Two signatories of the the Declaration of Independence went on to become US presidents — John Adams [2nd US President and the 1st US Vice President] and Thomas Jefferson [3rd US President]. By some bizzare twist, both Adams and Jefferson died on July 4, 1876, exactly 50 years after the Declaration was adopted and signed.
- Not all of America’s Founding Fathers agreed to celebrate American independence on the 4th of July. John Adams strongly insisted the holiday be July 2 as it was the date they officially voted for freedom from the British colonizers. July 2 as Independence Day, anyone?
- The Declaration of Independence was also used by a number of countries in South America as well as by France, Greece, Poland and Russia as a symbol of hope for their own struggles for freedom.
- The bald eagle being America’s national bird is all Thomas Jefferson and John Adams’ doing. However, if we’re to ask Benjamin Franklin, it would have been the turkey. Which made me thinking, why not, right? After all, Americans do consume a lot of turkeys come Thanksgiving Day.
- Aside from being the day to celebrate American independence, July 4th can also be called a HOT DOG HOLIDAY and the biggest one at that. After all, an estimated 155 million hot dogs are consumed on the 4th
- Americans observed July 4th as a holiday as early as 1777. However, it wasn’t declared an official holiday by the Congress [like Christmas and New year’s Day] until 1870. Then, in 1941, it was made an official federal holiday. The first major celebration of the holiday was in Philadelphia in 1777 where a parade occurred along with a thirteen-shot cannon salute and fireworks.
- The oldest July 4th celebration that’s observed up to this day is in Bristol, Rhode Island — the Bristol Fourth of July Parade. The tradition was started in 1785. That’s a whopping 232 years of tradition!
- Pennsylvania was where the Declaration of Independence was signed. This state is also dubbed the State of Independence as, according to US Census, the state has 11 places that has “liberty” in their name and 33 that has “union” in them. On a contrary, only one place has the word “patriot” — Patriot, Indiana, population 209 as of the 2010 count.
- The 4th of July isn’t only observed in America. The Philippines and Rwanda observe the holiday, too. The Philippine observation of the holiday dated back to 1946 when the Americans helped the country gain its independence back during the Second World War. Rwanda’s reason for celebration is in line with the country helping to end the Rwandan Genocide in July 4, 1994.
- While 4th of July celebrates all American, two of the country’s most important symbols were made overseas — the Liberty Bell was made in Britain [ironically, the country where the original 13 American colonies sought freedom from] and the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France.
To end this post, let me leave you off with this apt quote from Peter Marshall: