On July 4, 1776, representatives of the thirteen colonies then fighting in the revolutionary struggle claimed their independence from Great Britain, an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States. July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence ever since with a myriad of festivities. It’s a time for family picnics, barbecues with friends, baseball, cold drinks and yummy deserts. And of course, it wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without the parades and fireworks!
Some fun and interesting facts about Independence Day:
- Only John Hancock actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. All the others signed later.
- In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation was 2.5 million – the nation’s population in 2015 reached an estimated 7.3 billion.
- The stars on the original American flag were in a circle so all the Colonies would appear equal
- Americans began observing the Fourth of July as early as 1777, when the first-ever major. celebration in Philadelphia included a parade and a thirteen-shot cannon salute and fireworks.
- The American Bald Eagle gained immediate, unofficial recognition as our National bird when the Great Seal of the United States was adopted on June 20, 1782.
- Thomas Jefferson was the first president to hold a Fourth of July celebration at the White House in 1801.
- The “Star Spangled Banner” was written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812 and not decreed the official national anthem of the United States until 1931.
- Three U.S. Presidents, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, died on July 4th; Adams and Jefferson died within hours of each other in 1826 while Monroe died in 1831. The country’s 30th president, Calvin Coolidge, was born on Independence Day in 1872.
- Congress made Independence Day an official unpaid holiday in 1870, changing it to a paid federal holiday in 1938.
- Americans consume about 155 million hot dogs on Independence Day alone – it is the biggest hot dog holiday of the year.
- New York Yankees pitcher, Dave Righetti, threw a 4-0 no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox on July 4, 1983, the first no-hitter in 27 years.
UST will be closed on Monday, July 4th in observance of Independence Day and will reopen on Tuesday, July 5th. Without America’s Founding Fathers, there wouldn’t be an Independence Day to celebrate so as we spend time with our families, we wish you a safe and happy holiday spending time with yours!