It’s time to show off your independence! And your patriotic knowledge about the Declaration of Independence, fireworks and hot dogs. Let’s hear it for more pomp and less circumstance!
The leader of the American Revolution, John Adams, mistakenly thought that July 2nd was going to be the official Independence Day, but in reality that was simply the day the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was formally adopted on July 4th. Rumor has it that Mr. Adams would turn down invitations to July 4th parties in protest.
July 4th officially became a federal holiday in 1870, but it took more than 70 years for the U.S. government to grant their federal employees a paid day off. Maybe the 1870 paperwork got lost in processing.
Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826 -- the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
The very first Independence Day celebrations often included a fake funeral for King George III to signify the end of the British monarchy’s hold on the United States. Do you think that’s how deviled eggs became a popular funeral food AND a favorite Fourth of July picnic food? Hmmm.
If you remember your elementary school days, you will recall having to memorize the Declaration of Independence preamble. The word preamble is just a fancy way of saying introduction, but this preamble is worth learning again so you can impress your pals at your Fourth of July party. Don’t forget to wear a powdered wig.
John Hancock was the first one to sign the famous document. Which is where we get the phrase “put your John Hancock right here” in reference to signing important papers.
The town of Bristol, R.I., has held their annual parade and celebration every year since 1785. Since they are pros at Independence Day parties, they go all out with an elegant Fourth of July ball, drum and bugle corps competition, concert series and a parade.
In Cedar Key, Fla., the Fourth of July celebration takes a fishy twist with a party that is all about clams -- and is aptly name Clamerica. So, if you are a real Clamerican, head down south to for a steamy good time.
According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, 90 percent of all retail sales are attributed to Independence Day business.
They authorized it in 1777. They probably got tired of calling the police for all of those illegal fireworks displays in 1776.
Calvin Coolidge is the only United States president born on the Fourth of July. Feel free to mention that fun fact at your Independence Day cookout.
The character of Ron Kovic was played by Tom Cruise in the movie, which honors Ron’s work as an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist.
Tom Cruise was born on July 3, 1962.
“Independence Day” holds this record, and it’s believed that this movie contains more miniatures than any other two films combined. So, look closely next time you watch it.
“Yankee Doodle Dandy” was made up by British soldiers to make fun of Americans. They joked that Americans thought they could put a feather in their coonskin cap and be as fancy as English royalty. The American boys turned the tables and adopted the song as their own to show pride in their country -- and they eventually won independence from Great Britain. Who’s laughing now?
Uncle Sam was a meat packer who supplied barrels of beef to the U.S. Army during the War of 1812. He stamped the barrels with a U.S. for United States, but the Army boys joked that it stood for Uncle Sam. Eventually this became a nickname for the U.S. government.
There are five towns called Freedom. The largest is in California and has 6,000 residents. Liberty and Independence are more popular names with 30 and 11 cities that include these words, respectively.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” was written by Frances Scott Key, and was recognized for official use by the Navy in 1889. But it wasn’t until 1931 that it became the national anthem, thanks to a resolution by Congress.
July is National Ice Cream Month! In 1984, President Ronald Reagan made this declaration. He also decreed that the third Sunday in July is National Ice Cream Day.
Nathan’s Famous hosts the July 4th International Hot Dog Eating Contest every year at its flagship store in Coney Island, N.Y. More than 40,000 fans come to watch this spectacular eating event -- it’s even broadcast on ESPN. Now that’s an all-American celebration!