Sometimes we celebrate things without knowing all the particulars. Here are few interesting tidbits I discovered about our National holiday…
1. The Declaration of Independence wasn’t actually signed on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress voted on it on July 2nd and the formal signing didn’t occur until August 2nd. Think about it. It took a little time for the congressional caligrapher to make it pretty on parchment.
2. John Adams was a bit psychic! He predicted that the day “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.” Of course, he was referring to July 2nd, but he was eerily close otherwise!
3. There are 26 copies of the Declaration of Independence still in existence! Two are in the hands of our British cousins. Well, they would have kept that cheeky document, wouldn’t they?
4. Three US presidents have died on July 4th–Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Monroe.
5. Thomas Jefferson is widely held to be the author of the Declaration of Independence, but in fact, he had a committee behind him. (Of course, he did. We are talking about the government, after all!) John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert R Livingston of NY all had a finger in the pie.
6. There have been 28 versions of the US flag over the years, the design altering as new states were added to the Union. The current design was part of a 17 year old Robert Heft’s school project. His teacher gave him a B-. When it was adopted as the national flag, his grade was altered to an A. Bet that teacher felt a little sheepish.
7. The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men who must have laughed grimly when Ben Franklin said, “We must hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” When they pledged “their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor” they weren’t just trying for a catchy soundbite. The signers were committing treason against the Crown. If the war was lost, they would swing.
8. “Yankee Doodle” was originally sung by British soldiers who were making fun of the ragtag Americans whose sense of style was somewhat lacking by European standards. Contrarians that we are, we adopted the song as our own!
9. July 4th has only been a recognized federal holiday since 1941, though it has been informally celebrated since the initial day of the Declaration’s announcement.
10. The 4th of July is my father’s birthday! He weighed twelve pounds and was almost a month overdue, but he made his entry into the world to the accompaniment of flashbangs and fireworks! To this day, he claims he always celebrated his birthday with burned fingers! Happy Birthday, Dad!
Hope you all have a wonderful 4th! What are your celebration plans?
Mia’s exciting novella A Knack for Trouble is featured in the upcoming anthology IMPROPER GENTLEMEN. You’ll love the stories by Diane Whiteside and Maggie Robinson too!
“Suspense abounds in Marlowe’s Victorian A Knack for Trouble!”~ Publishers Weekly