To get you in the spirit, here are 6 fun facts about the history of Independence Day, “The Star Spangled Banner” and other patriotic items.
1. Why Red, White & Blue?
The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice (Source).
2. Independence Day is Really July 2nd?
John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence. That was the day the Second Continental Congress voted on the resolution to declare independence. Adams reportedly would turn down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest. Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826–the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence (Source).
3. When Did Independence Day Become a National Holiday?
In 1870, almost a hundred years after the Declaration was written, Congress first declared July 4 to be a national holiday as part of a bill to officially recognize several holidays, including Christmas. Further legislation about national holidays, including July 4, was passed in 1939 and 1941 (Source).
4. What patriotic tune used to be a drinking song?
“The Star-Spangled Banner” was originally a poem by Francis Scott Key titled, “The Defence of Fort McHenry,” penned after he witnessed that Maryland fort bombarded by the British during the War of 1812. It was later put to the music of an English drinking tune called “To Anacreon in Heaven,” and officially adopted as the national anthem in 1931 (Source).
5. How much money is spent on fireworks?
Independence Day is a red, white and boom holiday with $311.7 million in fireworks in 2015 (Source).
6. What city has the oldest Independence Day celebration?
The oldest continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States is the 4th of July Parade in Bristol, Rhode Island; it began in 1785. (Source).
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