Thursday, July 4, 2013
Little Known Facts About The 4th of July
As Americans prepare to hit the road for a short vacation, or fire up the grill for a barbecue, or box up the fireworks for a spectacular night time fireworks display, here's some little known facts about the 4th of July that you may not know:
The 2nd Continental Congress actually declared our Independence on the 2nd of July; the document was not ready for the public until the 4th, thus the date recognized as the official holiday.
John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, the following:
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more
A committee of five was selected to write the Declaration of Independence. However, the members of the committee, to include Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, recognized the brilliance of Thomas Jefferson's writing so he was selected as the principle author and it was his words, with few changes, that were incorporated into the document.
Only two men who signed the Declaration of Independence went on to become President; John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. On the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1826, both men died on the same day, only hours apart.
The Declaration of Independence is considered one of the finest examples of the written word in world history.
It is said that a team of archaeologists was visiting a tribe of people who lived in a remote mountain village in Eastern Europe. They were amazed that these remote peoples asked about the great American who wrote the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration has served as the founding document for dozens of other countries who sought to live under the document's guiding principles.
Another Founding Father, and later President, James Monroe would die on the 4th of July in 1831.
Calvin Cooledge was the only President born on the 4th of July.
In 1870 Congress declared the 4th of July as an unpaid federal holiday.
In 1938 Congress declared the 4th as a paid federal holiday.
Held since 1785, the Bristol, Rhode Island 4th of July celebration is our oldest national celebration.
In 1916 four immigrants in New York began arguing about who was the most patriotic. To settle the dispute they held a hot dog eating contest. Thus began Nathan's famous hot dog eating contests that continues to this day.