WEDNESDAY 4th FACTS: Did you know….

stars_stripesThe federal holiday on July 4, Independence Day, marks the Colonies’ adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain and its king. Here are some fun facts about this historic day that you might not know:

Signing1. Congress made Independence Day an official unpaid holiday for federal employees in 1870. In 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday.

2. Only John Hancock actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. All the others signed later.

3. The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men from 13 colonies.

4. The average age of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence was 45. The youngest was Thomas Lynch, Jr (27) of South Carolina.   The oldest delegate was Benjamin Franklin (70) of Pennsylvania. The lead author of The Declaration, Thomas Jefferson, was 33.

5. One out of eight signers of the Declaration of Independence were educated at Harvard (7 total).

6. Two signers of the Declaration of Independence later served as President of the United States: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

7. The stars on the original American flag were in a circle so all the Colonies would appear equal.

Philadelphia8. The first Independence Day celebration took place in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776. This was also the day that the Declaration of Independence was first read in public after people were summoned by the ringing of the Liberty Bell.

9. The White House held its first 4th July party in 1801.

10. President John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe all died on the Fourth. Adams and Jefferson (both signed the Declaration) died on the same day within hours of each other in 1826.

11. In 1776, there were 2.5 million people living in the new nation. Today the population of the U.S.A. is 327 million.

4th fireworks12. Fireworks are part of the tradition of celebrating this national holiday. The U.S. imports approximately $230 million worth of fireworks from China.

13. Approximately 150 million hot dogs and 700 million pounds of chicken are consumed on this day.

bell14. Every 4th of July the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped (not actually rung) thirteen times in honor of the original thirteen colonies.

15. The tune of the National Anthem was originally used by an English drinking song called €œto Anacreon in Heaven. € The words have nothing to do with consumption of alcohol but the melody that Francis Key had in mind when he wrote those words did originate decades earlier as the melody for a song praise of wine.