Facts about the Fourth of July
Posted on June 30th
- Congress made Independence Day an official unpaid holiday for federal employees in 1870. In 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday.
- Only John Hancock actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. All the others signed later.
- The only two signers of the Declaration of Independence who later served as President of the United States were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
- The stars on the original American flag were in a circle so all the Colonies would appear equal.
- The first Independence Day celebration took place in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776. This was also the day that the Declaration of Independence was first read in public after people were summoned by the ringing of the Liberty Bell.
- The White House held its first 4th July party in 1801.
- 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.
- Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey as the national bird but was overruled by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who recommended the bald eagle.
- Fifty-nine places in the U.S. contain the word “liberty” in the name. Pennsylvania, with 11, has more of these places than any other state. Of the 59 places nationwide containing “liberty” in the name, four are counties: Liberty County, Ga. (65,471), Liberty County, Fla. (8,276), Liberty County, Mont. (2,392) and Liberty County, Texas (76,571).
- Every 4th of July the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped (not actually rung) thirteen times in honor of the original thirteen colonies.
- The tune of the National Anthem was originally used by an English drinking song called “to Anacreon in Heaven.” The words have nothing to do with consumption of alcohol but the “melody that Francis Key had in mind when he wrote those words did originate decades earlier as the melody for a song praise of wine.” http://www.colonialmusic.org/Resource/Anacreon.htm