Most people are familiar with the history of the Fourth of July and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This 240-year-old holiday has some interesting history behind it that you may not be aware of.
- The Fourth of July wasn’t deemed a federal holiday until 1870. Further, it wasn’t until 1938 that Congress made the 4th of July an official paid federal holiday.
- The Continental Congress actually voted for independence on July 2, 1776, not the fourth. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, thus our celebrations today.
- Three US presidents died on the 4th of July – Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Monroe. In reverse, Calvin Coolidge was born on the 4th of July in 1872. He is the only president to have been born on the 4th of July.
- The American flag has gone through several changes throughout its X year history before it became what we know today. The Grand Union flag of 1775, aka the Congress Flag and the Continental Colors, had 13 red and white stripes with the British flag in the top left corner. This flag witnessed a lot of major events at the time, such as the approval of the Declaration of Independence and hoisting on the first ship of the US Navy. In 1777, Washington declared that the US flag should contain 13 stripes (alternating red and white) and 13 stars in a blue field, though it was unlikely designed by Betsy Ross. Today, 66% of Americans display an American flag over the Fourth of July.
- Americans consumer approximately 155 million hotdogs every year on the Fourth of July.That’s more hotdogs than are eaten any other day of the year. If you were to stretch them all out, they would stretch from D.C. to L.A. more than 5 times.
- Fireworks have been a staple in Fourth of July celebrations since the 1884 intentional explosion of the post office in Colorado (because it did not have fireworks). There are more than 14,000 Fourth of July fireworks displays across the country every year. The Macy’s fireworks show is the largest in the country with more than 40,000 shells launched.
No matter how you choose to celebrate this Fourth of July, have fun, stay safe, and please don’t drink and drive! Remember, depending what state you are in, AAA offers the Holiday Safe Ride Program if you find yourself needing a ride home. Happy Independence Day!