Facts about July 4th
* July 4, 1776 is the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress. The document was officially signed on August 2, 1776.
* The names of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were withheld for 6 months. If the effort at independence had failed, the act of signing would have been treason and punishable by death.
* In July, 1776, an estimated 2.5 million citizens lived in the United States.
* On July 8, 1776, the first Independence Day was celebrated in Philadelphia. The liberty bell was rung from the tower of Independence Hall to gather the citizens to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.
The bell was ordered from a London foundry in 1751. The first two castings were rung to celebrate Independence Day, but deemed defective by the Continental Congress. The third casting, made in Philadelphia, rang on July 4th from 1778 until 1835, when it cracked. To this day, it is tapped lightly on Independence Day, but no longer rung. There was a third bell sent from England that hangs in the cupola of Independence Hall. It is attached to a clock and sounds the hours.
* July 4, 1804, was the occasion of the first public Fourth of July celebration at the White House.
* In 1805, Lewis and Clark paused in their explorations to celebrate the first Independence Day festivities west of the Mississippi.
* On June 24, 1826, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter declining an invitation to the White House to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. This was his last written correspondence; Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826.
* In 1941, July 4, was declared a federal holiday by Congress.
* Legend says that Betsy Ross sewed the first flag, but historical research has not confirmed this. She is a recognized heroine in the fight for independence, but even the curators of Betsy Ross House have not been able to confirm she actually sewed the first flag.
* As designated by the Continental Congress, the official name of the flag is “The Flag of the United States.”
* The proper name of the statue of Liberty is “Liberty Enlightening the World.”
* Congress has designated that America’s National Independence Day Parade be held annually on July 4, at 11:45 a.m. in Washington, D.C on Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Streets. The purpose of the parade is to remind Americans of the true meaning of Independence Day. It is a patriotic, truly our-home-town, celebration of America’s birthday.