Each year, Independence Day is an opportunity for Americans around the world to put aside their differences (well, okay, nobody truly expects Ducks fans to give their Huskies or Beavers brethren a high-five), and celebrate the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that was aspired to by the Continental Congress on that remarkable day back on July 4, 1776.
And while most people know the basics of Independence Day, there’s a world of rather unusual facts and trivia associated with this even that, once known, will surely make you the most (or possibly, the least) popular person at your 4th of July picnic this year.
Did you know…
- While the text of the Declaration of Independence was drafted on July 4, 1776, most historians accept that it wasn’t actually signed until a month later on August 2. (Feel free to print this out and send it to your human resources department as part of your quest to get the day off.)
- Contrary to popular belief, the Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed in Washington; rather, it was signed in Philadelphia – the first capital of the United States (1790-1800).
- Many Americans around the world proudly display the flag on Independence Day. If you’re one of them, then the protocol is only to display the flag between sunrise and sunset, unless it’s illuminated (in which case it can be displayed for 24 hours). Also, don’t fly the flag in inclement weather, or let it touch the ground.
- The famed (and cracked) Liberty Bell in Philadelphia was rung on July 8, 1776 to usher in the Declaration of Independence. It was cracked much earlier – in 1753 – during testing.
- John Hancock’s signature is, by far, the largest on the Declaration of Independence. He was also the first to sign it (we’ll let the psychologists among you sort that one out!)
- While you enjoy your 4th of July holiday with friends, family or just the absence of work, keep in mind that it wasn’t until 1941 that Congress declared the day a Federal holiday. Better late than never…
Happy 4th of July everyone!