On July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress, declaring the United States as an independent nation, free from British Rule. Every year since, Americans have celebrated our independence with festivities, parades, and patriotic camaraderie. Recent traditions on this day include picnic BBQs with hotdogs and hamburgers in the daytime and fireworks in the evenings. Here are 10 unique facts about Independence Day that you may not have known!
1. The United States is turning 240 years old this July 4, 2016.
2. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two original signers of the Declaration of Independence who also later served as President of the United States, both died on July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
3. In 1870, Congress declared Independence Day as an official holiday and later in 1938, Congress declared the day as a paid federal holiday. Before 1938, it was an unpaid holiday for federal employees.
4. The tune “Yankee Doodle” is now known as an American patriotic song but the tune’s origins prior to the Revolution and was sung by British military officers who were mocking the colonist “Yankees” who they believed were unorganized and unsophisticated.
5. President Calvin Coolidge is the only American president to have been born on Independence Day, having been born July 4, 1872, and would become the 30th president of the United States.
6. The White House had its first Independence Day celebration party on July 4, 1801, when Thomas Jefferson was President and Aaron Burr was vice president.
7. The famous Macy’s fireworks display is held in New York City and has been televised on NBC since 1976, making its 40 year anniversary this year.
8. There will be an estimated 150 million hot dogs consumed this 4th of July across America.
9. The fourth of July parade in Bristol, Rhode Island, is the oldest continuous Independence Day Parade that continues on through today, originating all the way back to 1785.
10. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence on a writing desk that is placed on a person’s lap, known back then as a “laptop.”