The first word that comes to mind when I think of July 4th (aside from fireworks!) is ‘freedom’. We have all heard the phrase “freedom isn’t free” and seen the bumper stickers that read, “ My _______ fights for our freedom”, but if not for the brave soldiers of the revolutionary war we wouldn’t have freedoms to protect.
As most of us know Independence Day is a celebration of America’s transition from a British colony to a country all our own. The date is meant to be reminiscent of the day we earned our status as a free country and the tradition of fireworks represents gunfire and explosions of the war that earned us that status.
But did you know?:
- Independence Day was first celebrated in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776. The Liberty Bell sounded from the tower of Independence Hall on July 8, 1776, summoning citizens to gather for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon
- Betsy Ross, according to legend, sewed the first American flag in May or June 1776, as commissioned by the Congressional Committee.
- June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress, looking to promote national pride and unity, adopted the national flag. “Resolved: that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
- The first public Fourth of July event at the White House occurred in 1804.
- Before cars ruled the roadway, the Fourth of July was traditionally the most miserable day of the year for horses, tormented by all the noise and by the boys and girls who threw firecrackers at them.
- The first Independence Day celebration west of the Mississippi occurred at Independence Creek and was celebrated by Lewis and Clark in 1805.
- On June 24, 1826, Thomas Jefferson sent a letter to Roger C. Weightman, declining an invitation to come to Washington, D.C., to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. His reason for not wanting to attend the ceremony was the same as John Adams. They both wanted July 2nd, the day the Continental Congress agreed to the seperation from Britain, to be the celebrated date. It was the last letter that Jefferson, who was gravely ill, ever wrote.
- Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on Independence Day, July 4, 1826.
- The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence did not sign at the same time, nor did they sign on July 4, 1776. The official event occurred on August 2, 1776, when 50 men signed it.
- The names of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were withheld from the public for more than six months to protect the signers. If independence had not been achieved, the treasonable act of the signers would have, by law, resulted in their deaths.
- Thomas McKean was the last to sign in January, 1777.
Remember and Respect wishes you a very happy Independence Day! We hope your day is filled with family, friends, and of course fireworks.