Saturday, July 3, 2010

Interesting 4th of July Facts

Did you know....

John Hancock was the only signer of the Declaration of Independence to actually sign on July 4, 1776. 50 signed on August 2nd and 3 later that month. Thomas McKean was the last to sign in January, 1777.

The identities of the signers of the Declaration were kept secret for 6 months after the signing. If the Declaration had failed, it would have meant death for the signers, since it would have been considered high treason by the British.

In 1778, George Washington celebration Independence Day by giving the soldiers under his command a double ration of rum.

The 4th of July was not a legal federal holiday until 1941. It remains one of the few federal holidays not to have been moved to a Friday or a Monday.

Three U.S. Presidents have died on Independence Day: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826. James Monroe died July 4, 1831. And one president was born on the 4th....Calvin Coolidge in 1872.

The first two Liberty Bells were defective and melted down to be recast a third time. The third Liberty Bell rang on every 4th of July from 1778 until it cracked in 1835. It has since remained quiet. The first time it rang was July 8th, 1776 to summon the citizens of Philadelphia to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, read by Colonel John Nixon.

"The Star Spangled Banner" is set to a tune that was originally a British drinking song called "To Anacreon in Heaven" and was sung in pubs throughout England.

Benjamin Franklin argued heartily for the national bird to be the turkey. Thankfully, he was outnumbered and we ended up with the much more noble bald eagle.

At the Constitutional Convention, the ailing Benjamin Franklin was often transported to meetings in a sedan chair, carried by four convicts.

Betsy Ross, according to legend, sewed the first American flag in May or June 1776, as commissioned by the Congressional Committee. However, there is no historical evidence to support this.

The words "Under God" were not added to the Pledge of Allegiance until the year 1954.

More than 74 million Americans will celebrate the 4th of July holiday by having barbeques. They will also consume an estimated 150 million hot dogs!