Most citizens of the United States know the common history of July 4, 1776 as the day America claimed its independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. With over 74 million American’s celebrating the holiday each year, the day is also commonly celebrated with barbecues, parades, and fireworks. Although most American’s celebrate this holiday with pride, many are unfamiliar with the history. Below are some interesting facts about the fourth of July that many of us may not know.
The Liberty Bells Significance
One July 8, 1776, the townspeople of Philadelphia were summoned by the ringing of the Liberty Bell. There, the Declaration of Independence was first read in public. This turned out to become the very first Independence Day celebration. Every 4th of July since, the Liberty Bell is tapped thirteen times in honor of the thirteen original colonies.
Turkey or Eagle?
Benjamin Franklin was seventy years old at the time that the Declaration of Independence was signed. It was later revealed in a letter he had written to his daughter, Sarah Bache in 1784 that he was not partial to the Bald Eagle being chosen as the Representative of America. He had written; “His is a Bird of bad moral character. He does not get his Living Honestly.” Later he goes on to write; “For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America.”
So it seems that if Ben Franklin had his way, the older man would have chosen the turkey to be the bird of America.
No Day Off!
Did you know that although Independence Day has been widely celebrated throughout the Country since 1776, the date did not become a national holiday until 1941? Congress, did in fact make the date an unofficial unpaid holiday for Federal employees in 1870, which was later revised to a paid Federal holiday in 1938. For the rest of the country, the date did not become recognized as a paid holiday until 1941!
Now that we’ve all become familiarized with some fun facts about Independence Day we can all be thankful not only for no longer being under Britain’s brigade, but also that we are receiving pay for a recognized holiday while giving honor to a strong, predatory bird rather than a fat, silly turkey!