Happy Fourth of July! Get out your barbecue grills, fireworks and gather your families to celebrate the birth of America and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress.
Independence Day marks a weekend of celebrations including parades, picnics, fireworks and other family fun-filled activities.
As America turns 237, here are some fun facts for the day.
- Since its independence, America’s population has grown immensely. In July 1776, the estimated population was 2.5 million. Today, it is estimated at over 316 million.
- There were 56 signers to the Declaration of Independence. Only John Hancock signed on July 4, 1776. The others signed later.
- The first Independence Day celebration took place in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776. People were summoned by the ringing of the Liberty Bell to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.
- John Adams believed that July 2 was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence when Continental Congress voted in favor of Richard Henry Lee’s resolution for independence.
- Three notable presidents have died on July 4. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died in 1826 on America’s 50th birthday. James Monroe died five years later.
- Over 74 million Americans plan barbeques each year.
- Some 150 million hot dogs are consumed on the day each year.
- The tune of the National Anthem was originally an English drinking song called “To Anacreon in Heaven.”
- Congress made July 4 a federal holiday in 1870.
- New York City hosts the nation’s largest fireworks display featuring 1,800 shells a minute for a total of more than 40,000 explosions in the 25-minute show.
- The Fourth of July parade in Bristol, Rhode Island is the oldest continuous Independence Day celebration. They have celebrated every year since 1785.
- The colors of the flag also have meaning: Red symbolizes hardiness and valor; White symbolizes purity and innocence; and Blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.
Wishing you and your family a wonderful Fourth of July!