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 “A man’s country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle: and patriotism is loyalty to that principle.” –George William Curtis

With July 4th being only a few days away it is important to know why this holiday is deemed as significant.  It is the country’s most patriotic event; Americans proudly adorn themselves with the nation’s three colors: red, white and blue.  This day is set aside to celebrate independence, life, liberty, and of course the pursuit of happiness! Backyards, parks, and lawns are filled with tons of family and friends, food, and fun. July 4th also means admiring tens of thousands of explosives bursting into the sky as we look up in array with the bellowing sounds of “oohs” and “aahs” over the pretty array of lights and colors.

Amidst all of the excitement that July 4th brings we should reflect on this holiday and the importance that it brings. It took courage for the signers to sign The Declaration of Independence. We should think about all of the effort and ideas that went into the document and about the courage it took for these people to stand up for what they knew and deemed as right—and that was Independence.

Below we have found some insightful and educational facts to know about July 4th.

Here are some important facts:

•    The first Independence Day celebration took place in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776. This was also the day that the Declaration of Independence was first read in public after people were summoned by the ringing of the Liberty Bell.
•    The Declaration of Independence was first presented to Congress on June 28, 1776, after more than a year of trying to appeal the practice of taxation by England without representation in the English Parliament.
•    The flag was adopted on June 14, 1777.
•    50 flags are flown 24 hours a day at the Washington Monument.
•    Originally, the stars on the flag were arranged in a circle to denote the equality of all the colonies.
•    Setting off firecrackers formed part of the early Independence Day celebrations. This made the horses miserable.
•    Thomas Jefferson died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. So did John Adams who also signed the Declaration.
•    Iowa has more places with ‘liberty’ in its name than any other state (there are 31 places nationwide). There are also places with ‘freedom’, ‘independence’ and ‘patriot’.
•    According to one article, if Benjamin Franklin had had his way, the turkey would have been the animal on the flag instead of the bald eagle.
•    Only John Hancock actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. All the others signed later.
•    Only 2.5 million people lived in the US in 1776, about 314 million live here now.
•    July 4th only became a national holiday in 1941.
•    The White House held its first 4th of July party in 1801.
•    Barbecue is big on Independence Day, with more than 74 million Americans planning one. We eat around 150 million hot dogs and buy around 700 million pounds of chicken.
•    Fireworks are traditional on July 4th, but these were actually invented in China. The US imported $232.3 million worth of fireworks in 2011.
•    In 1854, the words ‘under God’ were added to the Pledge of Allegiance.
•    The tune of the National Anthem was originally used by an English drinking song called To Anacreon in Heaven.

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-Posted by Wilda J. Martin

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