Every year on the Fourth of July, we look forward to indulging in great American food and pastimes. Hot dogs, tasty barbecue, guzzling down cold beer, and watching grand fireworks displays are but a few ways to celebrate all things red, white and blue.
Americans know that on July 4, 1776, the brave American Revolutionaries from the original thirteen colonies (Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations) declared their independence.
There are, however, some facts about America's Independence day that are not widely known to the public. Here are a few:
1) The first Independence Day celebration took place in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776. This was also the day wherein the Declaration of Independence was first read to the public after people were summoned by the ringing of the Liberty Bell.
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2) The White House held its first Fourth of July party in 1801.
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3) Ever wonder why people set off fireworks on the Fourth of July? It's because John Adams wanted us to. In a letter to his wife Abigail Adams dated July 3, 1776, before the Declaration of Independence was even signed, he wrote that the occasion should be marked "with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."
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4) The first commemorative Independence Day fireworks were set off on July 4, 1777. The Pennsylvania Evening Post wrote that in Philadelphia, "The evening was closed with the ring of bells, and at night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks (which began and concluded with thirteen rockets) on the Commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated)."
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5) The Declaration of Independence was said to be signed by 56 representatives from the 13 colonies. However, it was actually only John Hancock who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 itself. The others signed it at a later date.
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6) The average age of the signers of the Declaration of Independence was 45. The youngest was Thomas Lynch Jr. (27) of South Carolina. The oldest delegate was Benjamin Franklin (70) of Pennsylvania. The lead author of the declaration, Thomas Jefferson, was 33. It's also interesting to note that 7 out of 56 signers studied in Harvard University.
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7) The stars of the original American flag were all in a circle. The rationale behind this is so all original 13 Colonies would appear equal.
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8) Another Fourth of July somewhat eerie fact is that three US Presidents died on this date. Presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe all died on the fourth - Adams and Jefferson died on the same day (July 4, 1826), within hours of each other.
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9) In 1778, General George Washington issued his troops a double rum ration to celebrate the Fourth of July.
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11) On average, around 150 million hot dogs and 700 million pounds of chicken are consumed every Fourth of July.
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13) Other countries also have a reason to celebrate the Fourth of July. On July 4, 1946, the United States of America granted independence to its then colonial territory, the Philippines. The fourth of July is also independence day for the country Rwanda (July 4, 1994 marks the end of the Rwandan Genocide and was the birthdate of their new government).
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