12 Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Independence Day
Every year, we gear up to celebrate the 4th of July. A date that has a unique significance to The United States. The land of the free, and home of the brave. A nation that was literally shaped on this very date over 200 years ago. Since then, it has become a day to celebrate. Many of us find ourselves at cookouts, feeling a little extra patriotic, and listening to the star spangled banner as fireworks explode over our heads - reminiscent of the rocket's red glare, and the bombs bursting in air.
While the day is a great occasion to celebrate the freedom which this country offers us, there are many different layers to pull back to reveal fun facts that help us to appreciate the day and its heritage (as well as our own), just a little bit more.
Here are twelve fun facts you didn't know about independence day.
It has become exponentially popular over time.
Census.gov reports that 2.5 million people celebrated the very first independence day, which took place on July 8th, 1776 in Philadelphia. Today, over 316 million people celebrate the holiday.
Fireworks are a *booming* business!
We all know that Independence Day means fireworks...lots, and lots of fireworks! But, just how many, and how much do they cost? Americans spent $13 million more dollars on fireworks in 2014 than we did in 2013. According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, that $13 million boost in sales brought last year's fireworks revenue to over $675 million! The 4th of July also fell on a long weekend last year, which may have helped boost sales. But, this year the holiday is on a Saturday, so let's see if we can top that total!
The Declaration Of Independence was written on a laptop.
That's right! In 1776, Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration on a laptop - only, the laptops they had were a little different than the ones this article is being written on. Laptops were a small writing desk that could fit on one's lap. It resembled a wooden box with drawers and an opening top for storage.
That's right...cookouts mean the most American foods of all, burgers and dogs. Just how many hot dogs, though? TIME Magazine reports that Americans will consume 155 million hot dogs on Independence Day alone. That's about one half of a hot dog for every single person in the entire country. Though, the hot dogs are outweighed by the 700 million pounds of chicken that Americans will consume.
Hot dogs weren't always so hot...
Sure, we celebrate with traditional American fare today, but things are a little different than they were in 1776...
"According to legend, on July 4, 1776, John Adams…and his wife, Abigail, sat down for a celebratory meal of turtle soup, New England poached salmon with egg sauce, green peas and boiled new potatoes in jackets. They followed the meal with Indian pudding or Apple Pandowdy," wrote Justine Sterling for Delish.com in 2011.
"Give me your John Hancock..."
The signature phrase for, well, a signature, was made popular by the first man to sign the Declaration of Independence, John Hancock himself. But, an interesting fact is that not only was he the first to sign it on July 4th of 1776, he was also one of only two men to sign it. The other was Charles Thompson, secretary of the Congress. All others signed at a later date.
It was almost Thanksgiving.
Did you know that Benjamin Franklin actually proposed that the national bird be the turkey? He was overruled by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who were the ones to suggest the Bald Eagle. One must wonder what we would eat on Thanksgiving had Franklin's proposal been approved, as it likely wouldn't be the country's official national bird on our plates.
While Independence Day often finds us relaxing by the pool or grill with a drink in hand, it is a fun fact that the tune of the National Anthem was actually originally from an English drinking song called "to Anacreon in Heaven." Obviously, the words are unrelated to alcohol of any kind, but the melody was originally used to praise wine.
We are all familiar with the Liberty Bell and it's famous crack. Because of the crack, the bell hasn't actually been rung since 1846. Instead, it is lightly tapped 13 times every Independence Day, to signify the original 13 colonies.
A little party never hurt nobody...
No city in the country celebrates Independence Day like Bristol, Rhode Island. Bristol has the longest running continuous Independence day celebration in the country's history, whose annual parade began in 1785.
Paul Revere really did save the day.
During Paul Revere's famous ride exclaiming "The British are coming!" he was actually looking for two men in particular to warn...John Hancock and Samuel Adams. This raises the question of what would be written in the history books had Revere not been successful. Two things are certain: The signature would not be called a John Hancock, and we would not have Sam Adams beer.
2nd time is a charm.
The widely accepted, signed, and revered copy of The Declaration of Independence that we all know today, is actually not the original. It is Thomas Jefferson's 2nd draft, the first of which was lost and never recovered. So, nobody actually knows what it said.
American history is a fascinating topic. There is so much that has happened in our young country's short life that it almost seems overwhelming to study. But the overwhelming nature is only outweighed by the excitement that comes with it.
Now that you are a little more trivially inclined than the average American on our great country's history, be sure to present these fun facts during your cookout this Saturday, and see if anyone else shares your knowledge!
From the entire Pivot Life Team, have a safe and happy 4th of July.
About the author: Brian Carroll is the CEO of Pivot Insurance and holds CLU & CPCU designations. He has been part of the life insurance industry for over 30 years. He is also an avid runner and has participated in many athletic endurance events. Brian established the anonymous life insurance quote process here at Pivot and takes pride in the caring and professional staff. You can reach Brian at 1-800-651-1953 or BCarroll@pivot.com.