The 4th of July has a rich and colorful history. Enjoy these historical, often unknown and fun facts about the United States’ Independence Day.

– When the Revolutionary War broke out in 1775, few colonists wanted independence from Great Britain. The revolutionists were seen as radicals.

– The first 4th of July fireworks show took place in Philadelphia in 1777.

– The first 4th of July celebration took place at the White House in 1801, hosted by President Thomas Jefferson.

– It’s said that Francis Hopkins designed the American flag, but it’s never been officially verified with evidence. There have been 27 different official versions of the flag as more states became part of our union.

– Betsy Ross, credited with sewing the first American flag, shared a birthday with Paul Revere who warned Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British were coming. They were both born on New Year’s Day.

– The American flag’s triangle fold mirrors the style of hat George Washington and the soldiers wore during the Revolutionary War.

– John Hancock was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence with his big, bold signature. Hence where we got the “put your John Hancock” when referring to signing your name.

– The youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence was Edward Rutledge, a Founding Father and former governor of South Carolina. He was 26.

– Independence Day should technically be July 2, 1776, when congress actually voted. Some historians say it wasn’t signed by everyone until August 2nd. John Adams would not celebrate July 4th “and consistently referred to Independence Day as July 2nd.

– On July 6th, The Pennsylvania Evening Post was the first newspaper to print the Declaration, after local printer John Dunlap produced copies of the manuscript.

– Ironically, three presidents who signed the Declaration died on July 4th: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826; James Monroe died five years later on July 4, 1831.

– The Star-Spangled Banner became the national anthem in 1931.

– President Dwight D. Eisenhower is the one who added “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954.

– The Liberty Bell rings 13 times every 4th of July, to honor the 13 original states.

– Federal regulations require that an American flag can only be flown from sunrise to sunset. If it’s kept flying at night, it’s supposed to be illuminated.

– Even though many people do this, the American flag code states that “the flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding or drapery.”

– Major League Baseball (MLB) always has ballgames happening on the 4th of July. Approximately 30 teams will play on Independence Day.

– Today there are more than 340 million Americans. Back in 1776 there were only about 2.5 million.

– The 4th of July is big money: Americans will spend more than nearly $10 billion on burgers, hotdogs and other festive food, $3 billion on beer and wine and more than $2.7 billion on fireworks.

– Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show is the biggest celebration in the country, taking 8,000 hours to prepare, firing off 1800 shells per minute which is 3Xs that of a local community fireworks show, costing more than $6 million. More than 3 million people watch the spectacular display.

-SAFETY FIRST – Firework safety should be a priority. Up to 10,000 people will be treated at emergency rooms in the month surrounding 4th of July.

-ESPECIALLY FOR PARENTS & GRANDPARENTS – Sparklers are usually considered kid-friendly, but they are not. Sparklers burn up to 2,000 degrees and can ignite clothing and hair. About 14% of fireworks injuries are from sparklers and primarily impact children under the age of 5. Young kids should never play with sparklers and older children should be supervised. Always have a nearby bucket of water to douse them.

Have an incredibly safe and fun 4th of July with your family and friends.

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