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By Teresa Bigham/
FLOYD COUNTY – Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, was officially named a federal holiday in 1870 by the U.S. Congress, and in 1941 it became a paid federal holiday.
According to history.com, the tradition of celebrating Independence Day goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution.
On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence from England. Two days later delegates from 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence which is the historic document that was mostly drafted by Thomas Jefferson because he was regarded as the strongest writer. The committee and Congress made a total of 86 changes to Jefferson’s draft.
On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Richard Henry Lee’s resolution for independence in a near unanimous vote. The New York delegation abstained, but later voted affirmatively, according to the website.
The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men from the 13 colonies. John Hancock signed the Declaration on July 4, 1776, while the rest signed on August 2, 1776.
From 1776 to the present day, the Fourth of July has been celebrated as the birth of American independence. People have celebrated this holiday with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to family gathering and barbecues, according to history.com
The tradition of patriotic celebration became even more widespread after the War of 1812.
Over the years, the political importance of the holiday declined, but Independence Day remains an important national holiday and a symbol of patriotism, the website states.
Fun Facts about the 4th of July:
- The average age of the signers of the Declaration of Independence was 45 years old. The youngest was Thomas Lynch, Jr. who was 27 years old. The oldest delegate was Benjamin Franklin who was 70 years old.
- Seven of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were educated at Harvard University.
- John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the two signers of the Declaration who later served as President of the United States.
- The first Independence Day celebration took place in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776. This also was the day that the Declaration of Independence was first read in public after people were summoned by the ringing of the Liberty Bell.
- The White House held its first July party in 1801.
- Presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe all died on the Fourth of July. Adams and Jefferson both died on the same day within hours of each other.
Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826
John Adams died on July 4, 1826
James Monroe died on July 4, 1831
- Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey as the national bird but was overruled by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who recommended the bald eagle.
- Every 4th of July the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped, not rung, 13 times in honor of the original 13 colonies.