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A Little History Lesson

Here's a little history lesson for you about the 4th of July, or Independence Day:

1) The holiday does not celebrate the signing of the Declaration; it celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress.

2). Contrary to popular belief, only two Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776: John Hancock and Charles Thompson. The majority of signers penned their signatures on August 2, 1776.

3) The names of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were kept secret for six months. Signing this document against the British King was an act of treason punishable by death.

4). The first Independence Day celebration took place in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776. The citizens were summoned together by the ringing of the Liberty Bell, and the Declaration of Independence was publicly read for the first time. Every 4th of July the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped (not actually rung) thirteen times in honor of the original thirteen colonies.

5). The Liberty Bell and the Statue of Liberty, two greatest symbols of our freedom, are imported from other countries: the Liberty Bell was from England, and the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France.

6). Only one U.S. President - Calvin Coolidge - was born on the 4th of July. However, three Presidents - John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe - all died on the 4th of July. Adams and Jefferson both died on the same day within hours of each other in 1826- fifty years after the Declaration they drafted was adopted!

7) Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey as the national bird but was overruled by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who recommended the bald eagle.

8 ) In 1778, George Washington commemorated Independence Day by issuing a double ration of rum to all his troops.

9) Congress made Independence Day an official unpaid holiday for federal employees in 1870. In 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday.

10) The Phillipines also gained their independence on July 4th in 1946 - from the United States!

11) The Pledge of Allegiance first appeared in 1892. However, the words “One nation, under God” were not added until 1954. And “In God We Trust” did not appear on United States currency until 1957.

12) Approximately 150 million hot dogs and 700 million pounds of chicken are consumed on this day. Americans will spend about $92 million dollars on chips, $167.5 million on watermelons, and a whopping $341.4 million on beer.

13) And last, but certainly not least, Americans are expected to spend $675 million dollars for fireworks in celebration of July 4 this year, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.



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