Fourth of July Trivia. Fun facts about our 4th of July History
4th of July is just around the bend, and I know it’s hard to believe given the odd weather we’ve had this year. Summer is my favorite time of the year. It’s pool, beach and BBQ time. And, just time to relax and enjoy time with good friends.
If you share my love for summer, you’ll be happy to know that summer is slightly longer than winter…by 4 days. That’s because the earth is slightly further away from the sun during the summer, so it takes a bit longer to traverse. So, yay for those extra 4 days!
And, if you live in Westchester, you can check out where you can see the fireworks in Westchester County in 2018.
In the meantime, here is some fun trivia about our nation’s holiday.
- Contrary to what most people think, the Declaration of Independence was NOT signed on July 4th, 1776. Thomas Jefferson headed the committee and wrote the first draft on June 28, 1776. The committee included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman. The 56 signers did not sign on the 4th, nor did they all sign at the same time. The official signing took place on August 2nd when 50 people signed. Thomas McKean was the final signer in January 1777.
- The names of the signers were withheld from the public for 6 months to protect the signers at it would have considered a treasonous act.
- The first Independence Day celebration took place on July 8, 1776 in Philadelphia with the ringing of the Liberty Bell to gather the public for the first official reading. Colonel John Nixon read it.
- On June 14, 1777 (now known as Flag Day), the Continental Congress adopted the National Flag with the red, white and blue colors. At the time, there were 13 stars in a circle in the blue corner.
- The first public 4th of July in the White House was celebrated in 1804 under Thomas Jefferson’s presidency. (Construction on the White House was completed in 1800).
- Before cars ruled the roadways, July 4th was the most unpleasant day of the year for horses tormented by all the noise and boys and girls throwing fire crackers at them.
- July 4th wasn’t proclaimed a federal legal holiday until 1941. It is one of the few federal holidays which remains on its official date (rather than being moved to a Friday or Monday.
- Massachusetts was the first state to make it an official holiday in 1781.
- Nationwide, there are 30 places in the US with Liberty in their name (Iowa leads the nation with 4 of them), 11 with Independence, 5 with Freedom and 1 with America.
- Prior to our Independence Day, there was an annual celebration of the King of England’s birthday (King George the III). After 1776, the colonists would hold mock funerals for the King to symbolize the fall of the monarchy.
- In 1778, George Washington doubled the rations of rum to his soldiers on July 4th.
- John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever became the official theme song on July 4th, 1897. It was first played on Independence Day at the Manhattan Beach Music Hall on Coney Island.
Enjoy your 4th of July celebrations. This year July 4th is on a Wednesday, so we have a whole week to celebrate!