Interesting and Fun 4th of July Facts
by Amber Brandt
As we’re all keenly aware, “patriotism” can sometimes be a loaded or fuzzy word — especially during an election year! Hopefully, we can all agree the annual celebration of Independence Day is a good time to set partisanship aside and honor what makes our country great. But beyond parades, boating and fireworks, what does the 4th of July really mean? Here are some simple facts you can share with your kids about what the holiday represents!
- Independence Day is America’s birthday. On July 4, 1776, our founding fathers declared their independence from Great Britain with the “Declaration of Independence.” (This was especially risky because at the time, Britain was one of the world’s strongest countries and going against their government was punishable by death.) The first person to sign the document was John Hancock. There’s even a myth that he wrote his name extra large to that King George would be able to read it without wearing glasses.
- The flag is a symbol of freedom — and each part represents something special. The stars represent our 50 states, and the stripes stand for the 13 British colonies, which declared their independence. These features remind us that we’re all connected, and free.
- We have certain “inalienable rights.” Our Constitution and the U.S. Bill of Rights provide us freedom to practice religion, say and write what we want, and go places we want to go.
- Government plays a key role in our daily lives. We pay taxes to support the infrastructure and safety of our communities. This includes things like the upkeep of public schools, traffic lights, local parks and paying community positions including police officers, firefighters, postal workers and librarians.
- America is often called a “melting pot.” There are many countries in the world where the majority of people share the same ethnicity, but not so in the U.S. Our great county is made of up people from all over the world — all ethnic backgrounds and beliefs — all melting into one belief that people should have the freedom to live, work and earn money the best way they can.
Here are a few interesting 4th of July facts you can share between fireworks this year:
- Americans will eat roughly 155 million hot dogs on the 4th this year. The founding fathers celebrated the first 4th by feasting on turtle soup, New England poached salmon with egg sauce, green peas and boiled new potatoes in jackets.
- Frances Scott Key penned a poem called the “Star Spangled Banner” in 1814, but it didn’t become our national anthem until 1931.
- John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826.
- President Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872. President Obama’s daughter Malia also has a 4th of July birthday.
- The average age of those who signed the Declaration of Independence was 45. The youngest delegate was 27 and the oldest was 70.
- 700 million pounds of chicken are purchased the week before the holiday.
- Fireworks were used to celebrate the first anniversary of our Independence in 1777.
- Two other countries also celebrate their independence on July 4th — the Philippines and Rwanda.
- The 2,000 pound Liberty Bell has not been officially “rung” since 1846. Due to concerns about cracking it, the bell is simply tapped 13 times on the 4th each year, in order to signal bells across the country to start ringing.
- The stars on the original flag were placed in a circle to state the Colonies were equal.
- There are more than thirty towns nationwide with “Liberty” in their names.