I have just returned from a morning of errands, which included a stop by the dollar store to pick up supplies for our upcoming beach trip. Like many families along the east coast, my family always spends the 4th of July at the beach. We pack our bags full of glow sticks, sand toys, sparklers, sunscreen, and a generous supply of aloe lotion and we gear up for a celebration filled with good food, good friends, awesome fireworks, and John Philip Sousa marches on replay.
As I perused the aisles at the dollar store, I filled my cart with items we might need for our 4th of July celebration.
- A box of cake mix with red and blue star confetti sprinkles? Check.
- American flag cupcake liners? Check.
- An American flag? Check.
- Patriotic garland and stars to decorate our bikes for the neighborhood parade? Check.
- Red, white, and blue tablecloths and paper products for our hot dogs, potato salad and lemonade? Check.
- Bunting and all manner of patriotic decorations for the house? Check.
I left the store feeling rather proud of myself for purchasing these items before I actually got to the beach this year. But I began to wonder what all those red, white, and blue things would mean to the children who would be coming to our little celebration of independence. Would they know the history behind this special day? Would they understand the sacrifices of so many servicemen and women to preserve the freedoms our great nation? So here are a few fun facts about Independence Day that you can share with your family while you are sipping your strawberry lemonade:
- The American Revolution started in April 1775.
- The U.S. congress declared independence from Britain by approving the final wording of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and the first Independence Day celebration was held four days later in Philadelphia. Col. John Nixon gave the first reading of the Declaration of Independence there.
- July 4th was not declared a national holiday until 1870, almost one hundred years later.
- Thomas Jefferson wrote the majority of the Declaration of Independence. He was 33 years old at the time.
- Fifty-six signatories, representing thirteen colonies, signed the Declaration of Independence, but not everyone could sign it at the same time. John Hancock was the first to sign it on July 4, 1776. The last signatory to sign it was Thomas McKean in January 1777. The names of the signers were kept secret from the public for more than six months to protect them from being declared as traitors under English law.
- Every 4th of July, the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped (not actually rung for fear of damaging it) thirteen times in honor of the thirteen original colonies.
- The first American flag was sewn by Betsy Ross in May of 1776.
- The bald eagle was chosen in June 1782 as the emblem of the United States because of its long life, great strength, and majestic looks.
- In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in our newly independent nation was 2.5 million. We now have 318.2 million people living in the United States.
- This year marks the 238th Independence Day.
- The American Revolutionary War started with about seventy soldiers fighting as the “Massachusetts Patriots Minute Men” against the British Army. Today, the United States Military has approximately 2.2 million members.
For all of us at Classic Tassels and More, we would like to say a special thank you to the men and women of the armed forces that keep us safe! We are so thankful for your service to our country. We hope you know that when we celebrate Independence Day, we celebrate you!
What is your favorite fact about the 4th of July? Tell us how you will celebrate Independence Day this year! Displaying one of our patriotic tassels in your home is the perfect way to honor our great nation’s birth. Happy 238th birthday, America!