By Kendra Johnson
Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, holds a special place in the hearts of us Americans. As we gear up to celebrate this joyous (and very warm) occasion, let’s dive into some captivating and entertaining facts about USA Independence Day!
Thomas Jefferson, Writer of Declaration of Independence, President and Mammoth Enthusiast?!
On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress made history by adopting the Declaration of Independence, a document that declared the thirteen colonies as a new nation. The famous words were penned by Thomas Jefferson.
Fun fact about Jefferson? He had a Woolly Mammoth named after him. Turns out he was a highly active supporter of paleontology. He even had a bone room in the White House where artifacts were kept and is considered the father of American Paleontology. You can read more about Thomas Jefferson’s enthusiasm for Ice-Age mammoths in this article.
“The British are Coming!” Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride
In 1775, Paul Revere embarked on his famous midnight ride, warning the colonial militias about British troop movements. This courageous act played a significant role in the early stages of the Revolutionary War. Not in the way you think though. He never actually rode through town shouting “The British Are Coming!” He was supposed to be a spy and acted covertly.
Here are some interesting facts though. He was an artist! Revere produced some of the era’s most sophisticated copper plate engravings and illustrated many political cartoons. Paul Revere also had a very large family. He fathered 16 children!
“I need your John Hancock.”
Have you ever heard anyone use this phrase? It’s becoming less common but the saying still surfaces every once in a while. Did you know this phrase is directly tied to the 4th of July? John Hancock is one of the most visible signatures on the declaration of independence. So when someone says they need your “John Hancock” they’re referencing one of the wealthiest men in colonial america.
Known for his large and stylish signature, he served as the first and third Governor of the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Imagine being one of the 56 delegates who put their name on the original copy of the Declaration of Independence! Among them, John Hancock’s bold and prominent signature always stands out.
Tapping the Liberty Bell Thirteen Times
I was born in Pennsylvania so the Liberty Bell has been a prominent symbol in my life, adorning even my christmas stocking. I haven’t been back to view it myself though. It’s on my bucket list.
The Liberty Bell, housed in Philadelphia, is a cherished symbol of American independence. Each year on July 4th, it’s tapped thirteen times, representing the original colonies and echoing the spirit of freedom.
For a fun summer activity, have your kids make their own liberty bells and tap them thirteen times!
Baby You’re a Firework!
Independence Day is synonymous with dazzling fireworks displays. And as long as the neighbor isn;t shooting them directly over your roof (which tends to happen in my mom’s neighborhood every year) it’s one of my favorite traditions. Americans purchase and use over 200 million pounds of fireworks annually! It’s a spectacular tradition that lights up the night sky.
Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest
If you’re craving a unique competition, look no further than the legendary Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. Held in Coney Island, New York, participants strive to devour the most hot dogs and buns within a designated time frame. To be honest I’ve never been to Coney Island but I always make sure to stop at Nathan’s on Main Street of Magic Kingdom every time I visit my sister in Orlando.
Grilling and barbecues are an integral part of Independence Day celebrations. Picture this: Americans consume over 150 million hot dogs and a staggering 700 million pounds of chicken on this day alone.
Simple Ways to Celebrate With the Family:
Although fairs and festivals can indeed be a fun way to celebrate, I prefer to find simple, quiet ways to celebrate just with my family. Here are a few ideas of how you can celebrate this year!
Independence Day weekend draws people to the coasts and lakesides, seeking relaxation and fun under the sun. From sandy shores to tranquil lakes, these destinations become popular havens for families and friends.
Social Media Celebrations (For the Festive Introvert)
In today’s digital age, Independence Day celebrations extend beyond physical gatherings. Social media platforms light up with patriotic posts as people share their festive experiences using hashtags like #4thofJuly, #IndependenceDay, and #USA. It’s a virtual celebration that brings the nation together.
Baking in Red White and Blue
My favorite way to celebrate is with Patriotic Food! Star Spangled Jello, flag cakes and all things red-white and blue! Check out some of my favorite 4th of July recipes here.
Kendra is Director of Digital Resources and curriculum for Enduring Legacy Co. A certified elementary educator and parent to three young boys, Kendra has a passion for teaching life skills to families and helping more parents and grandparents build their enduring legacy.