20 Fun Facts about the 4th of July
Happy Independence Day! To add to today’s celebrations, here are some interesting and fun facts about the 4th of July.
- 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 Declaration of Independence was first presented to Congress on June 28, 1776, after more than a year of trying to appeal the practice of taxation by England without representation in the English Parliament.
- The flag was adopted on June 14, 1777. (Find out more about that in our roundup of fun facts about Flag Day.)
- 50 flags are flown 24 hours a day at the Washington Monument.
- Originally, the stars on the flag were arranged in a circle to denote the equality of all the colonies.
- Setting off firecrackers formed part of the early Independence Day celebrations. This made the horses miserable.
- Thomas Jefferson died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. So did John Adams who also signed the Declaration.
- Iowa has more places with ‘liberty’ in its name than any other state (there are 31 places nationwide). There are also places with ‘freedom’, ‘independence’ and ‘patriot’.
- According to one article, if Benjamin Franklin had had his way, the turkey would have been the animal on the flag instead of the bald eagle.
- Only John Hancock actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. All the others signed later.
- President Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872.
- Bristol, Rhode Island has been celebrating independence continuously since 1785.
- Only 2.5 million people lived in the US in 1776, about 314 million live here now.
- The 4th of July only became a national holiday in 1941.
- The White House held its first 4th of July party in 1801.
- Barbecue is big on Independence Day, with more than 74 million Americans planning one. We eat around 150 million hot dogs and buy around 700 million pounds of chicken.
- Fireworks are traditional on July 4th, but these were actually invented in China. The US imported $232.3 million worth of fireworks in 2011.
- The US imports about $3.6 million of American flags each year, most of them from China.
- In 1854, the words ‘under God’ were added to the Pledge of Allegiance.
- The tune of the National Anthem was originally used by an English drinking song called To Anacreon in Heaven.
Whatever you’re doing, we hope you are enjoying this quintessentially American holiday.
(Photo credit: Sean Winters)