It's Independence Day! Every year, the American Independence is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm across the nation. The day is marked by Americans gathering together with friends and family to bond over fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games and political speeches and ceremonies.
Fireworks are an integral part of Fourth of July celebrations with the New York City having had the largest fireworks display in the country in 2009. Other major displays are in Chicago on Lake Michigan, San Diego over Mission Bay, Boston on the Charles River, St. Louis on the Mississippi River, San Francisco over the San Francisco Bay and the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The Founding Fathers of Fourth of July are considered to be George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, James Monroe and Alexander Hamilton. On 4 July, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress stating that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America.
Here are some of the lesser known facts about the Declaration of Independence and Fourth of July:
- The Declaration of Independence was drafted by Thomas Jefferson, who was the third President of U.S., on a laptop.
- Only two people signed the Declaration on July 4, 1776 -- John Hancock and Charles Thompson -- while most of the delegates signed on Aug. 2
- Elbridge Gerry, Oliver Wolcott, Lewis Morris, Thomas McKean and Matthew Thornton signed the Declaration on a later date, while two others, John Dickinson and Robert R. Livingston, never signed at all.
- The wording of the Declaration of Independence was changed by Thomas Jefferson from "the pursuit of property" to "the pursuit of happiness."
- The original draft of the Declaration by Jefferson was lost, and an "engrossed' document was later signed.
- The printed version of the Declaration was called the Dunlap Broadside.
- July 4 was declared an official holiday in 1870 by the Congress, the same year other holidays such as the Christmas was officially recognized as a holiday.
- "Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776," are the words written on the back of the Declaration of Independence.
- About 2.5 million people lived in the U.S. when the Declaration was signed.
- John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence who later served as Presidents of the U.S., died on the same day -- July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.
- America's 30th President, Calvin Coolidge, was born on July 4, 1872.
- The Pennsylvania Evening Post was the first newspaper to print the Declaration of Independence.
- A riot broke out in New York when news of the Declaration of Independence reached the city on July 9.
- The Fourth of July is not only celebrated in America but also in Denmark, England, Norway, Portugal and Sweden
- On July 4, 1956, the Philippines gained independence from the United States.
- The first fireworks used to celebrate Fourth of July were in 1777 that were flamed up over Philadelphia.
- "Star Spangled Banner," which is now the national anthem of U.S., was written by Francis Scott Key and was originally a poem.
- The average age of those who signed the Declaration of Independence was 45. There was a 44-year age difference between the youngest and oldest signers. The youngest was Edward Rutledge aged 26 at the time, while the oldest Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania aged 70.