This year, July 4th, is our nation’s 243rd birthday. It was on this date, in 1776, that the original thirteen colonies declared independence from the British empire by signing the Declaration of Independence, a document primarily penned by Thomas Jefferson, in the Pennsylvania State House, now known as Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA.
The dates associated with the Declaration’s signing have always been in dispute, since the Second Continental Congress actually approved the resolution on July 2, 1776, and, the document was not completely signed until August 2, 1776. It has been noted that only John Hancock signed the Declaration on July 4th. However, the July 4th date has always been recognized as the official date, as reflected on the Declaration of Independence.
The Philippines celebrate July 4th as Republic Day, commemorating the date they stopped being a US Territory, in 1946. In Rwanda, July 4th is called Liberation Day, commemorating the end of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. In Denmark, Rebild National Park is recognized as having the largest 4th of July celebration outside the US.
4th of July Trivia:
- John Hancock was the only member of the Continental Congress to formally sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776.
- The Fourth of July was not declared a federal holiday until 1938.
- The first White House Fourth of July party was held in 1804.
- Around 150 million hot dogs are consumed on Fourth of July (wonder if this statistic includes the hot dogs consumed during the annual Nathan’s Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest?)
- Back in 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed, 2.5 million ‘new people’ lived in the U.S. Now 240 years later, 350 million people live in the USA.
- The now American-celebrated song, Yankee Doodle, was originally written by officers of the British army to make fun of backwoods Americans.
- Three United States presidents died on the Fourth of July: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe.
- July 4th is also celebrated in the Philippines, because in 1946, the country was recognized as an independent nation.
- In one year, $600 million is spent on fireworks alone in the U.S.
- More than 14,000 firework displays are put on across the country on Fourth of July!