BY KEVIN SAWYER – The celebration of Independence Day has gone on in the United States for nearly 150 years. While everyone seems to know the origin of the national holiday, many others are under the misguided impression that the day celebrates the American colonist’s victory over the British in the American Revolution. In fact, the day celebrates the day when representatives from the 13 American colonies signed the legendary Declaration of Independence.
Here are a few more strange things you really don’t know about the Fourth of July:
- The Declaration of Independence was actually signed by everyone on July 2. The Continental Congress, however, didn’t make a formal announcement until July 4 so that became the official day of declared independence from England.
- Two of the founding fathers, and both were presidents, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, both died on the same day within actual minutes of each other. When did they die? They both died on July 4, 1826.
- The city of Vicksburg, Mississippi stopped celebrating the Fourth of July in 1865. They remained infuriated over the destruction and surrender of their city to Union General Grant during the American Civil War. In addition, they were furious at the Southern states having lost the war. Vicksburg didn’t celebrate Independence Day again until July 4, 1944.
- The Fourth of July is the actual official Independence Day for both the countries of Rwanda and The Philippines.
- Americans celebrated Independence Day soon after winning independence from England but the U.S. Congress didn’t make it an official and legal holiday until they declared it so in 1870. Also in that same declaration, Congress declared that Christmas was to be an official holiday too.
- More hot dogs are eaten on July 4th than on any other day of the year. In celebration, Americans eat about 155 million of them just on that day alone.
- The legendary song, Yankee Doodle, was originally sung by British soldiers during the Revolution. They had made it up to poke fun at the unorganized “yankees” who just “doodled” around and couldn’t seem to fight their way out of a paper bag.
- The cracked Liberty Bell, which rests in Philadelphia, hasn’t been officially rung since 1846. Since then, the Bell is firmly tapped 13 times in honor of the original 13 colonies.
- The American national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, was written by Francis Scott Key while he was aboard a British prison ship in Baltimore harbor during the War of 1812. The melody to the song, Key lifted from a British drinking song.
- In 1776, the population of the American colonies was 2.5 million.
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