In recognition of our collective celebration of American independence, here are some interesting facts concerning the annual event.
Congress actually voted in favor of independence on July 2, 1776; July 4 is the date on the declaration and the day independence was declared.
Four presidents have an especially personal connection to Independence Day — John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, James Monroe died on July 4, 1831 and Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872.
The liberty bell is no longer rung, but it is tapped 13 times every July 4 in honor of the 13 original colonies.
Mary Katharine Goddard, who was commissioned by Congress to print copies of the Declaration of Independence, added her name below the original signers. She was a well-known patriot and one of the first women publishers and postmasters in the United States.
When the colonists in New York City found out about the Declaration of Independence after George Washington read it aloud in front of New York’s City Hall on July 9, 1776, the crowd tore down a statue of King George III and it was melted down to make 42,000 musket balls for the revolutionary army,
The Betsy Ross flag — the original American flag — had 13 stars in a blue field in a circle to express the equality of the 13 original colonies.
In 1777, 13 gunshots were fired in salute, once at morning and once again as evening fell, on July 4 in Bristol, RI. The town has held a 4th of July parade every year since 1785, making Bristol’s Independence Day celebration the oldest continuous one in the United States.
In 1781, the Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration.
In 1870, the U.S. Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees; it became a paid holiday for them in 1938.
Independence Day acquired its unofficial theme song on July 4, 1897, at the Manhattan Beach Music Hall on the eastern end of Coney Island. On July 4, 1897, John Philip Sousa lifted his baton and directed his band to play what was then their latest hit, “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” It has been a 4th of July staple ever since.