Here are 17 fun facts about the Fourth of July to share with your children, your friends and family…Adapted from Fun Facts About the Fourth of July.
1. A Truly Young Nation
The average age of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence was 45.
The youngest was Thomas Lynch, Jr (27) of South Carolina. The oldest delegate was Benjamin Franklin (70) of Pennsylvania.
The lead author of The Declaration, Thomas Jefferson, was 33.
2. Men of Harvard
1 out of 8 signers of the signers were educated at Harvard (7 total).
Four each at William & Mary, Yale, and Princeton.
George Wythe was a professor at William & Mary and one of his students was Thomas Jefferson.
3. An Act of Treason
After signing the Declaration, John Hancock remarked that Congress must now “all hang together”.
Benjamin Franklin replied,
“Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
4. Happy July 2nd
The initial date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress was July 2, 1776.
The next day, John Adams remarked in a letter to his wife Abigail (who happens to be my 8th Great Aunt) :) :
“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.”
5. Date for History
Congress revised the Declaration for final approval on July 4, 1776.
The only two signers of the Declaration of Independence who later served as President of the United States were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (bitter rivals) died on the same day, July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.
6. Our National Turkey
Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter to his daughter Sarah Bache in 1784:
“For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country.
He is a Bird of bad moral character. He does not get his Living honestly.
You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk;
And when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.
I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America.
He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.“
7. Enjoy Your Day Off Without Pay
Congress made Independence Day an official unpaid holiday for federal employees in 1870.
(In 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday)
8. Our Nation Has Grown
There were an estimated 2.5 million people living in the newly independent nation in 1776.
Total U.S. population in 2011 is 311.7 million.
9. A Salute to the Union
A salute of one gun for each state in the United States, called a “salute to the union,” is fired on Independence Day at noon by any capable military base.
10. Thank China for Old Glory
87.5% ($2.8 million) of imported U.S. flags are from China.
11. And for Fireworks
97% ($190.7 million) of imported fireworks are from China.
12. Hawkeye Hot Dogs
One of out every four pork hot dog consumed in the U.S. originates from Iowa.
If not Iowa, then likely North Carolina or Minnesota.
An estimated 150 million hot dogs will be consumed on July 4th.
13. Lone Star Beef
One-sixth of all beef production comes from Texas.
If your beef hot dog, steak, or burger didn’t come from Texas, there’s a good chance it originated in Nebraska or Kansas.
14. Sunshine Lettuce or Tomato
75% of all lettuce head production comes from California while 71% of all fresh tomatoes come from California or Florida.
15.Pass the Potato Salad and Chips
You guessed it.. approximately half of the nation’s spuds are produced in Idaho or Washington.
16. Some Baked Beans Please
36% of the nation’s dry, edible beans are produced in North Dakota (the most in any state).
17. The Liberty Bell Tap
Every 4th of July the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped (not actually rung) thirteen times in honor of the original thirteen colonies.
Make the 4th a learning opportunity. I know I am the 8th Great Grand-Niece of Abigail Adams and the 3rd Cousin, 7 times removed from Roger Sherman.
Who is Roger Sherman? He was the only person to sign all four great state papers of the U.S.: the Continental Association, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.
I believe it's fair to say I have a lot of patriotic spirit in my blood line. Have a Happy and SAFE Fourth of July!!