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Facts and figures for our nation's birthday

The first colony in America was formed in Jamestown, Virg. in 1607, but it wasn't until July 4, 1776 that we became our own country. I thought it might be interesting to write today's blog on some interesting facts and figures about this historic holiday to give Americans something to reflect on as they attend a show or blow off a firework.

1) John Adams wrote, "July 2 would be marked as a national holiday for generations to come: ... It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade with shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” July 2 was the day that Independence Day was voted on, but it wasn't made into an actual Declaration of Independence until July 4.

2) The first July 4 celebration occurred the following year in 1777. A ship's cannon fired a 13-gun salute in honor of the 13 colonies.

3) If anyone asks you to sign your John Hancock, it's because when Governor of Massachusetts John Hancock signed the Declaration, he wanted to sign it bigger than anyone else to rub it in King George III's face.

4) George Washington, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison never signed the Declaration of Independence. The reasons for them not signing can be found on this Harvard website here.

5) Many white southerners did not celebrate the Fourth of July following their defeat in the Civil War.

6) It is estimated that Americans spent one billion dollars on fireworks last year.

7) The types of fireworks that cause the most injuries are firecrackers, sparklers and bottle rockets.

8) The annual Macy's 4th of July fireworks celebration in New York City is the nation's largest fireworks show.

9) In 2019, fireworks caused an estimated 10,000 injuries.

10) July 4 didn't become an official American holiday until 1870 and didn't become a paid holiday for federal employees until 1941.

11) Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826, America's 50th birthday.

12) Calvin Coolidge is the only president born on July 4.

13) The Philippines also celebrates its independence on July 4, but calls it "Philippine Republic Day."

14) Americans scarf down about 150 million hot dogs on the Fourth of July.

15) As you know, many states vary on their firework laws. Indiana has a much more lenient policy on fireworks than does Illinois. To see a full listing of what is allowed and what isn't in states, see this article from Reader's Digest.

Sources:,,,, ,,,, VT.Edu,,

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