It’s no secret that we all look forward to the 4th of July to light fireworks, barbecue, and get together with friends and family. I’m the first one to put some meat in the smoker, stock the beer fridge, and invite people over.
But one of my favorite things to do on birthdays and holidays is learn about things that happened on the same day years ago. And boy, July 4th is a big one. I mean, aside from the famous first 4th of July for our country, there have been many pivotal moments throughout the years.
So crack a cold one and see how many of these 4th of July facts you already know!
13 Other Things That Happened on July 4th
1) John Adams wanted Independence Day to be July 2nd. Adams wanted us to celebrate on the 2nd, when Congress voted for independence.
2) Most people signed the Declaration on August 2nd, not July 4th. John Hancock and Charles Thomson were the only two to sign on July 4, 1776.
3) George Washington ordered a double ration of rum for his soldiers to celebrate in 1778.
4) John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the 50th anniversary of July 4th, 1826. James Monroe also passed on July 4th, 1831.
5) July 4th wasn’t made a federal holiday until 1870.
6) The Philippines gained its independence from the U.S. on July 4, 1946.
7) Thomas Jefferson started the tradition of the White House 4th of July reception that’s been held every year since 1801.
8) West Point, the first U.S. military academy, opened on July 4, 1802.
9) Slavery was abolished in New York state on July 4, 1827.
10) "My Country ‘Tis of Thee" was first sung in Boston on July 4, 1831.
11) The Statue of Liberty was presented to the US in Paris on July 4, 1884.
12) Katherine Lee Bates first published "America the Beautiful" in 1895. It was several years later before it reached a larger audience.
13) The cornerstone of the Freedom Tower was laid in 2004.
FUN FACT: There were only 2.5 million U.S. citizens on the first 4th of July, and now there are 325.7 million.
Did any of these surprise you? I don’t know about you, but the older I get and the more I relearn our nation’s history, the more recent everything seems. It wasn’t that long ago that our country was born.
And I think I speak for all of us when I say how grateful I am for the founding fathers and families over the past few hundred years devoted to making the U.S. as great as it is today.
Enjoy your day of 4th of July celebrations and cheers to our great nation!