- July 4th 2012
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)
- June 29th 2012
July is practically here and in that month there’s only one holiday worth talking about – the 4th of July. We’ll be looking at that in more detail next week, but here are a few other observances of note in July.
- July 2 is World UFO Day – a day for everyone who is convinced that there’s something out there.
- It may be a little bit gross, but many find it fun. We’re talking cherry pit spitting – and there’s a day for that on July 7.
- July 10 is the day when many around the world have Teddy Bear Picnics.
- Summer is a time to relax some of those eating restrictions and there are 4 candy themed observances this month. July 7 is Chocolate Day; July 15 is Gummi Worm Day; July 20 is National Lollipop Day and July 28 is National Milk Chocolate Day. Yum!
- July 15-21 is National Parenting Gifted Children Week, the fifth annual observance of this week. It’s also National Zoo Keeper Week.
- July 18 is Nelson Mandela International Day – a UN observance which recognizes Nelson Mandela’s contribution to protecting human rights, promoting equality and reconciliation.
- July 22 is Parents’ Day. This observance was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, making the 4th Sunday in July a day to mark the role of parents.
- July 26 is the anniversary of the date in 1990 when President George HW Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law to guarantee equal opportunities for people with disabilities in employment, state and government services, transportation, accommodation, commercial facilities and telecommunications.
- July 27 is National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day.
It Happened in July
Here are some interesting world events that happened in July.
- 1997 – Hong Kong went back to Chinese rule on July 1
- 1937 – Amelia Earhart disappeared on July 2
- 1981 – President Reagan announced the nomination of the first female justice to the US Supreme Court on Jluy 7.
- 1965 – The Mariner space probe sent back photos of Mars on July 14.
- 1969 – Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon on July 20.
- May 25th 2010
Soultravelers3′s response to my recent post on Memorial Day got me to thinking about something that travelers often experience – celebrating holidays that are important to them while in a country where people don’t even know they exist. Or, even if it’s a common holiday, creating that sense of home that makes the holiday special for you.
Many moons ago, I was spending Christmas in Barcelona, far removed from my usual haunts, with a bunch of people who weren’t going home for the holidays – a couple of Australians, a Canadian girl and me. Rather than stay in France and mope, we’d decided to do something different and head to Spain to experience the holiday there. We bought some small gifts (we were poor students), a couple bottles of wine, some chocolates, a mini Christmas tree and some tinsel to decorate our room. Before we settled in for the holiday, we walked around the city, which was blanketed in white (my first white Christmas) and absorbed the beauty and the atmosphere. Then we went back and talked about how we celebrated the holiday in our own homes. It didn’t make us less homesick, but it felt good to share. Read more »