But alas, after I did some preliminary research, I realized there isn’t much to write about the Fourth of July that everyone doesn’t already know. Or so I thought!
Image credit: Library of Congress
▲Photo source: nashvillelife.com/4th-of-July Photo source: loc.gov/exhibits/treasures ▼
Listening to the news over the last several months, I’ve wondered what the words “independence” and “freedom” mean to the people of the United States. We all seem to have our own version, and sometimes they are incompatible.
I’m willing to bet that only a small percentage of Americans have read the Declaration of In-dependence in the last ten years; a few, never.
According to some historians, it is the most important document ever written in this country; even more important than the Constitution, because it identifies the principles by which this nation holds together. Right now we need to be held together more than ever before. We only have ourselves to do that.
Read it. You may find out it does or doesn’t say some of the things you think it does. The word ”independence” isn’t even in the adopted title. Still, the words continue to resonate in the 21st century as fundamental truths.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT FOURTH OF JULY
Although articles are often entitled “fun facts”, they are usually “interesting” facts about the holiday. I did learn a few thing I never knew or didn’t remember after a hiatus of sixty years…and it’s always interesting to see how many “known facts” on the internet disagree with each other.
"Taxation without representation!"
At the beginning of the Revolutionary War [April 1775], not many of the colonists wanted complete separation from Great Britain, but gradually the population began to favor complete independence. You all remember that, right?
Of course you do. And you remember, when Richard Henry Lee introduced his motion to the Continental Congress for independence, it was tabled and a five-man committee appointed (Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York) to draft a formal statement justifying the break with Great Britain. Maybe you recall hearing that, too.
On July 2nd, 1775, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Lee’s resolution for independence in a near-unanimous vote (NY delegation abstained) and on July 4th, the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, written primarily by Thomas Jefferson. “Declaration of Independence” painting by John Trumbull 1818
▼ Photo source: acei-global.blog/facts-about-the-4th-of-july
◄ Photo source: acei-global.blog/facts-about-the-4th-of-july
That was news to me. I never thought of Jefferson as being shy.
◄Jefferson’s portrait painted by Charles Wilson Peale, 1791
Photo source: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Declaration-of-Independence
Or was it only one?
● “Only John Hancock actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. All the others signed later.” https://acei-global.blog/2013/07/03/20-fun-facts-about-the-4th-of-julyindependence-day/
● The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men from 13 colonies. Of those 56, eight were born in Great Britain.
● Benjamin Franklin, the oldest signer of the Declaration of Independence [70 at the time], proposed the turkey as the national bird but was overruled by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who recommended the bald eagle.
● The youngest signer was Thomas Lynch, Jr.  of South Carolina. https://acei-global.blog/2013/07/03/20-fun-facts-about-the-4th-of-julyindependence-day/
Or was he?
● “…Edward Rutledge was the youngest at age 26.” http://thepioneerwoman.com/fun-and-learning/twenty-interesting-things-about4th-of-july/
● The original draft of the Declaration of Independence was lost. http://www.rfdtv.com/story/32328872/4th-of-july-fun-facts#.WwhI_0gvzcc Library of Congress
Oh, well. I’m sure they have a copy of the one that was adopted and signed.
● Congress made Independence Day an official unpaid holiday for federal employees in 1870. It didn’t become a federal paid holiday until 1938.
● 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.
● Every 4th of July the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped [not actually rung] thirteen times in honor of the original thirteen colonies.
Photo Credit: posted to Flickr by Tony the Misfit at flickr.com/photos/
Photo source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Liberty_Bell_2008.jpg
● The tune of the National Anthem was originally an English drinking song called “To Anacreon in Heaven.” The words have nothing to do with consumption of alcohol but the “melody that Francis Key had in mind when he wrote those words did originate decades earlier as the melody for a song praise of wine.” http://www.colonialmusic.org/Resource/Anacreon.htm
READ THE DOCUMENT. THEN GO CELEBRATE THAT YOUR LIVE HERE.