Some Fantastic Facts About the Fourth of July

Ahead of the Fourth of July on Thursday, How Stuff Works has compiled a fun list of facts about the United States of America’s birthday. Here they are:

  1. Independence Day should really be celebrated on July 2.The Second Continental Congress voted to approve the resolution to legally separate from Great Britain on July 2, but the approved Declaration of Independence was first printed on July 4. 
  2. Fireworks flew at the first Fourth.Taking a cue from John Adams' call for "Bonfires and Illuminations," a wartime Congress adjourned in Philadelphia to light up the night with fireworks on July 4, 1777. 
  3. And plenty of gunfire, too.Military cannons and live gunfire were a big part of early Fourth of July festivities.
  4. The Stars & Stripes were at the First Fourth of July.Less than a month before the very first Independence Day celebration, the Continental Congress passed a resolution creating America's first official flag. 
  5. Massachusetts was first to recognize July 4 as a holiday.Nearly 90 years before the Fourth of July was recognized as a federal holiday, the Massachusetts legislature called for an official state celebration in 1781 to recognize "the anniversary of the independence of the United States of America."
  6. Three U.S. presidents have died on July 4.Both Thomas Jefferson and his fellow Founding Father John Adams died on the very same day: July 4, 1826. Just five years later, James Monroe became the third U.S. president to die on the Fourth of July.
  7. President Zachary Taylor died after a Fourth of July party.President Zachary Taylor died on July 9, 1850, after contracting cholera from eating tainted fruit during Independence Day celebrations.
  8. Just one President was born on the Fourth of July.Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872, in Plymouth Notch, Vermont. 
  9. NYC has America's biggest Fourth of July fireworks display.The Macy's show, which has been blasting off over New York City's East River for more than 40 years, includes more than 75,000 individual shells and costs an estimated $6 million.
  10. There are lots of Fourth of July fireworks injuries.In 2017 alone, there were 12,900 fireworks-related injuries treated in U.S. hospitals with eight known fatalities. 
  11. Sousa Was the "March King" of July Fourth.American composer and military band leader John Philip Sousa wrote 135 marches in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Since Fourth of July patriotism has always been tied up with military pride, Sousa's marches were the de facto soundtrack of July 4 parades and celebrations.
  12. Sousa also inspired a contemporary patriotic anthem.Lee Greenwood's patriotic 1984 song "God Bless the U.S.A." gets nearly 25 times more views on July 4th than any other day of the year.
  13. Here comes the Horribles Parade.The first Horribles Parade was held on July 4, 1851, in Lowell, Massachusetts. It was intended to be a comical send-up of a stuffy military organization called the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts and grew into a friendly costume contest. 
  14. The Olympics of competitive eating.Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, held every Fourth of July in Coney Island, New York, is the crown jewel of the competitive eating circuit and is broadcast live on ESPN. 



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