Fireworks? Check. Red, white and blue outfit? Check. Pocket-sized copies of the Declaration of Independence? Check.
The Fourth of July may be known for its awesome picnics, fabulous fireworks, and heavy doses of patriotism, but what about these facts?
1. Should it be July 2nd?
America’s 2nd President, John Adams wrote that July 2, the date the Second Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Britain, not July 4, the date Congress’ president John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence, should be “the great anniversary Festival.”
Adams wrote on July 3, 1776, “the Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.” “It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
2. Not a Good Day for Presidents
Not two but three Presidents passed away on July 4th.
John Adams, the second president, and Thomas Jefferson, the third president, were bitter rivals throughout their political careers, but nearly twins in their deaths. They died hours apart on July 4, 1826, Adams at age 90 in Massachusetts and Jefferson at age 83 in Virginia.
James Monroe, the fifth president, also died on July 4, five years after Adams and Jefferson in 1831.
3. Turning Point in the Civil War
Confederate Gen. John Pemberton surrendered to Union forces at Vicksburg, Miss. That surrender, on July 4, 1863 marked the turning point in the Civil War, when the scales tipped in the North’s favor.
The South did not surrender for another two years. The town of Vicksburg refused to celebrate the Fourth of July for the next 81 years.
4. Congress Makes it Official
Nearly 100 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, Congress made the Fourth of July an official holiday, despite the widespread celebrations that had been ringing in America’s birthday.
Boston was ahead of the national curve, becoming the first city to designate the Fourth a city-wide holiday in 1783.
5. Thank you France
On July 4, 1884, the French presented the United States with the Statue of Liberty. It took four months to assemble the 151-foot-tall statue, which was shipped from Paris in hundreds of pieces.
The statue was intended to commemorate America’s centennial, however it was not formally dedicated until 10 years later when President Grover Cleveland held a Statue of Liberty ceremony on October 28, 1886.
6. A Hoax or the Real Thing?
In 2011, hackers tried to trick Twitter users into thinking President Obama had become the fourth U.S. President to pass away on July 4th.
Hackers broke into Fox News’ Twitter account and fired off tweets declaring Obama had been shot and killed in Iowa. In reality, the President was barbecuing at the White House.
How many of you would be ready to have Joe Biden as your next U.S. President?