FOURTH OF JULY ~
A LONG WEEKEND OF CELEBRATION!
What are your plans for this weekend celebrating our country’s independence? Are you taking the time off from reading or writing? Getting together with family and friends and enjoy a picnic, barbeque, fireworks?
Here are a few facts about Independence Day in the U.S.A. you can use as trivia and for fun to test friends and family:
1. On July the 4th, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress. Thereafter, the 13 colonies embarked on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation.
2. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, political speeches and ceremonies, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States.
3. The Declaration of Independence is more than just a piece of paper. It is a symbol of our country's independence and commitment to certain ideas. A symbol is something that stands for something else. Most people can look at a certain little "swoosh" and know that it stands for "Nike." Well, the signers of the Declaration of Independence wanted the citizens of the United States to have a document that spelled out what was important to our leaders and citizens. They wanted us to be able to look at the Declaration of Independence and immediately think of the goals we should always be working for, and about the people who have fought so hard to make these ideas possible. The people who signed the Declaration risked being hanged for treason by the leaders in Great Britain. They had to be very brave to sign something that would be considered a crime! So every time we look at the Declaration of Independence, we should think about all of the effort and ideas that went into the document, and about the courage it took for these people to stand up for what they knew was right -- independence!
4. The word ‘patriotism’ comes from the Latin patria, which means ‘homeland’ or ‘fatherland.’
5. The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence did not sign at the same time, nor did they sign on July 4, 1776. The official event occurred on August 2, 1776, when 50 men signed it. The names of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were withheld from the public for more than six months to protect the signers. If independence had not been achieved, the treasonable act of the signers would have, by law, resulted in their deaths. Thomas McKean was the last to sign in January, 1777.
6. Oh how we’ve grown: In 1776, about 2.5 million people lived in the newly independent United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2011, 311.7 million Americans will celebrate Independence Day.
7. Congress debated and revised the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4. A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail. "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."
8. Betsy Ross, according to legend, sewed the first American flag in May or June 1776, as commissioned by the Congressional Committee. June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress, looking to promote national pride and unity, adopted the national flag. “Resolved: that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
9. Independence Day was first celebrated in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776. The Liberty Bell sounded from the tower of Independence Hall on July 8, 1776, summoning citizens to gather for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.
10. The origin of Uncle Sam probably began in 1812, when Samuel Wilson was a meat packer who provided meat to the US Army. The meat shipments were stamped with the initials, U.S. Someone joked that the initials stood for “Uncle Sam”. This joke eventually led to the idea of Uncle Sam symbolizing the United States government.
11. Thirty places nationwide with “liberty” in their name. Liberty, Missouri (26,232) boasts the highest population of the 30 at 26,232. Iowa has more of these places than any other state at four: Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty and West Liberty.
Eleven places have “independence” in their name. The most populous of these is Independence, Missouri, with 113,288 residents.
Five places adopted the name “freedom.” Freedom, California, with 6,000 residents, has the largest population among these.
There is one place named “patriot” — Patriot, Indiana, with a population of 202.
And what could be more fitting than spending the day in a place called “America”? There are five such places in the country, with the most populous being American Fork, Utah, with 21,941 residents.
12. Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, James Monroe, the Fifth President of the United States, died on July 4, 1831. Calvin Coolidge, the Thirtieth President, was born on July 4, 1872, and thus was the only President to be born on Independence Day.
13. Independence Day is a national holiday marked by patriotic displays. Similar to other summer-themed events, Independence Day celebrations often take place outdoors. While the Fourth is celebrated across the country, historic cities like Boston and Philadelphia draw huge crowds to their festivities. In Boston, the USS John F. Kennedy often sails into the harbor, while the Boston Pops Orchestra holds a televised concert on the banks of the Charles River, featuring American music and ending with the 1812 Overture. Philadelphia holds its celebrations at Independence Hall, where historic scenes are reenacted and the Declaration of Independence is read. Other interesting parties include the American Indian rodeo and three-day Pow-Wow in Flagstaff, Arizona, and the Lititz, Pennsylvania, candle festival, where hundreds of candles are floated in water and a "Queen of Candles" is chosen.
Hope you enjoy these Thirteen Tidbits. There were more but I kept it intentionally to thirteen for the original states. Sorry, couldn't help it!
If you’re an American, or not, how do you celebrate the Fourth of July? I’ll be celebrating my husband’s birthday (it’s Sunday, the 3rd) and having a cookout on Monday. Share your thoughts; I’d love to hear them.
Oh, one last thing, let's remember our brave patriots of today, like our forefathers before us, and take a moment to remember all our men and women in uniform and their families who serve our great country today.