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SPARKLERS, PICNICS AND HEAD-TO-TOE RED/WHITE/BLUE

01 Jul 2016

SPARKLERS, PICNICS AND HEAD-TO-TOE RED/WHITE/BLUE

e5becdaca3e173587df76ffe_1196x718FACTS YOU (might not have known) ABOUT THE 4TH OF JULY …
1. WRONG DATE? America’s second president John Adams says that the country has gotten the date wrong for the past 236 years. Adams wrote that July 2, the date the Second Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Britain, not July 4, the date Congress’ president John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence, should be “the great anniversary Festival.”
“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America,” Adams wrote on July 3, 1776. “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.”
At least he got the pomp and parade part right.
2. THE DEATH OF THREE PRESIDENTS – PRIME DAY TO DIE For America’s first five presidents, the Fourth of July was not only a celebration of their great achievement, but it was also, apparently, a prime day to die. Three of America’s first five presidents died on Independence Day. John Adams, the second president, and Thomas Jefferson, the third president … died hours apart on July 4, 1826, Adams at age 90 in Massachusetts and Jefferson at age 83 in Virginia. Then, James Monroe, the fifth president, also died on July 4, five years after Adams and Jefferson in 1831.
3. 1863 VICKSBURG VICTORY After one month, 15 miles of trenches, countless battles, near-constant bombing, Confederate Gen. John Pemberton surrendered to Union forces at Vicksburg, Miss. That surrender, on July 4, 1863 would mark a turning point in the Civil War, when the scales tipped in the North’s favor. The South did not surrender for another two years. The town of Vicksburg refused to celebratethe Fourth of July for the next 81 years.
4. 1870 CONGRESS MAKES IT OFFICIAL It took nearly 100 years for Congress to make the Fourth of July an official holiday, despite the widespread celebrations that had been ringing in America’s birthday since the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. Boston was ahead of the national curve, becoming the first city to designate the Fourth a city-wide holiday in 1783. That’s the same year Gov. Alexander Martin issued a state order making North Carolina the first state to officially celebrate U.S. independence on July 4.
5. 1884 A FRENCH B-DAY PRESENT. SIZE XXL. The United States got what may be the country’s largest physical birthday present on July 4, 1884, when the French presented it with the Statue of Liberty. It took four months to assemble the 151-foot-tall statue, which was shipped from Paris in hundreds of pieces. While the statue was intended to commemorate America’s centennial, it was not formally dedicated until 10 years after the fact, when President Grover Cleveland held a Statue of Liberty ceremony on October 28, 1886.
6. 1912: THE FOURTH GOES GLOBAL It may be America’s birthday, but the U.S. isn’t the only country that celebrates it. Denmark started throwing a Fourth of July bash in 1912 after thousands of Danes emigrated to the United States. Thousands of Danish Americans and U.S. military personnel stationed in Europe celebrate Independence Day at the annual outdoor festival in Rebild, Denmark. The Danish tourism office bills it as the largest Fourth of July celebration outside the United States.
7. 1938: FEDERAL EMPLOYEES REJOICE Congress officially declared July 4 a federal holiday back in 1870, but it took them nearly 70 years to give federal employees a paid day off. July 4, 1938, was the first Independence Day that federal employees picnicked, barbequed and fireworked without denting their paychecks.
(H/T ABC NEWS)

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