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The United States of America and the Fourth of July Fun Facts

Jun 25, 2019

By: Kat Thomson

In the United States, the Fourth of July is always a celebratory holiday. Also known as Independence Day, July 4th marks the Colonies’ adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Here are some fun facts about this historic holiday.

History

  • The "Declaration of Independence" was signed by fifty-six men representing thirteen different colonies.
  • Only John Hancock actually signed the "Declaration of Independence" on July 4, 1776. (This is where the saying “Please put your John Hancock on that” comes from! It means to put your signature on something; the expression refers John Hancock writing his name on the Declaration of Independence.)
  • The average age of the signatories was 45 years old.
  •  Thomas Lynch Junior and Edward Rutledge (both of South Carolina) were the youngest to sign the "Declaration of Independence" at age 26.
  • The oldest delegate was Benjamin Franklin (of Pennsylvania) at age 70.
  • The head author of the "Declaration of Independence" was Thomas Jefferson. He was 33 years old at the time.
  • John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the only two signatories who later served as president. Adams was president from 1797-1801 and Jefferson was president from 1801-1809.
  • The very first Fourth of July party held at The White House was in 1801.

The Liberty Bell is a historical landmark located in Philadelphia.The Liberty Bell is a historical landmark located in Philadelphia.Courtesy of The Constitutional Walking Tour
  • In honor of the original thirteen colonies, every Fourth of July the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped thirteen times (it’s not actually rung, for fear of cracking the historic bell. It has not been rung since 1846.)
  • During World War II, the "Declaration of Independence" was kept safely locked up at Fort Knox.
  • Some people believe that the back of the "Declaration of Independence" contains a secret message! The movie “National Treasure” added to this myth when the protagonist claimed there was a secret map on the reverse side. In reality, it simply says: 'Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776'.
  • The original American flag had all the stars in a circle so the Colonies would appear equal.

The original American flag with the stars in a circle.The original American flag with the stars in a circle.Courtesy of USFlagStore

Current Traditions we Celebrate

Regarding Independence Day celebrations, John Adams was quoted as saying “it ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade…and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” Here are some of the ways Americans celebrate July fourth:

  • Wearing red, white and blue
  • Flying the American flag
  • Decorating your home in patriotic colors
  • Fireworks shows
  • Cannon blasts
  • Speeches
  • Sparklers at night
  • Parades
  • Patriotic music
  • Barbecues/cookouts  
  • Beach bonfires
  • Carnivals
  • Pie-eating contests
  • Baseball games
  • Family reunions
  • Football games
  • Face paint
  • Picnics at the park
  • Fairs
  • Live concerts
  • Dance performances
  • Boating
  • Spending time with loved ones

Most families celebrate July 4th with BBQs Most families celebrate July 4th with BBQs Courtesy of Jay Wennington

Top Fireworks Shows Across the Country

It is estimated that approximately 14,000 professional fireworks displays are put on each Fourth of July in the United States. Many cities compete for the honor of having the best Independence Day fireworks – here are some of the biggest and most spectacular celebrations:

  • National Mall Independence Day Celebration, Washington D.C.
  • Wawa Welcomes America, Philadelphia
  • Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks, New York City
  • Music City July 4th,  Nashville
  • Do A.C. 4th of July Fireworks, Atlantic City
  • Lights on the Lake, Lake Tahoe
  • Addison Kaboom Town, Dallas
  • Fair Saint Louis, St. Louis
  • Big Bay Boom, San Diego
  • July 4th Celebration at the Pier, San Francisco
  • Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, Boston

Get ready to celebrate with flags and sparklers! Get ready to celebrate with flags and sparklers! Courtesy of Stephanie McCabe
Share Your Thoughts

What are some of your favorite Fourth of July traditions? Leave a comment below!