We hope our readers have a fantastic Fourth of July weekend, and we leave you with 10 great facts about our founding, gathered from various sources:
1. The Declaration of Independence was adopted by 12 of 13 colonies (New York not voting) on July 4, 1776, but wasn't actually signed by all the delegates until August 2, 1776. – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
2. Button was the first name of one Declaration signer. Button Gwinnett represented Georgia.
3. Francis Scott Key wrote four verses of the national anthem. Anyone remember “Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep's pollution”? – The Old Educator
4. Benjamin Franklin, John Adams & Thomas Jefferson served on the committee that picked the eagle for the national seal (Franklin wanted the turkey.) – The Old Educator
5. One Declaration signer, Richard Stockton of New Jersey, recanted when he was captured by the British in the Revolutionary War. – American Heritage
6. A handprint appears on the bottom left corner of the Declaration of Independence. The origins and circumstances of the handprint are not known. The document was handled, rolled, and traveled about and exhibited extensively in its early life. Attempting to clean the handprint and other soil that has worked into the parchment could damage the fragile document. – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
7. The first Independence Day fireworks celebration was in 1776, and was memorialized by then future President John Adams as follows:
"The day (Independence Day) will be the most memorable in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival...it ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade...bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this day forward forevermore." – Fireworks.com
8. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826.
9. Every Independence Day, Philadelphia puts on the Let Freedom Ring celebration at Independence Mall near Independence Hall. This nationwide bell-ringing event begins with the tapping of the Liberty Bell and continues with the ringing of bells all across the United States. Each bell rings thirteen times, in honor of the thirteen original colonies. – eHow, How to Spend Fourth of July in Philadelphia
10. It was at the signing of the Declaration of Independence that Franklin famously said "We must all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." – Neatorama