Independence Day: Fun Facts on Fireworks, Flags, Forefathers and Foods

It’s time again for some flag-waving fun. Once you’ve had your fill of hot dogs and apple pie and are sitting around waiting for the fireworks display to start, here are some fun bits of trivia you can use to entertain your friends and family.

Trusted by the delegation with making some last-minute revisions, John Hancock finished the Declaration of Independence with only the secretary of Congress, Charles Thompson, present. Though Hancock is popularly credited with having completed the last stroke of his bold signature with the phrase, “There, I guess King George will be able to read that,” neither Hancock nor Thompson, the only ones who would have known, left any record of the famous one-liner.

The Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed on July 4, or in July at all. The document was formally dated, finalized and adopted by the Continental Congress on that date. July 2 is the date when the Continental Congress had officially voted for independence and John Adams believed this should be the day of national celebration. The document was finally signed by all members of the Continental Congress on August 2, 1776.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” started out as a poem named “The Defense of Fort M’Henry” and was written on the back of an envelope. It was quickly found that the cadence of the poem fit the tune of a song titled “To Anacreon in Heaven.” It was set to the music and renamed, thus becoming the national anthem as we know it today.

Calvin Coolidge was born on the Fourth of July. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826. James Monroe also died on the Fourth of July 4, 1831.

The only place where the flag is never flown at half-mast is the moon.

Someone who specializes in the history of flags is called a vexillologist.

When newlyweds Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette celebrated their royal bonds with a fireworks display on May 10, 1774, they inadvertently set in motion a stampede which left 800 of their wedding attendees dead.

Workers who make firecrackers have to be sure to wear an ensemble that is entirely cotton, lest static electricity generated by their clothing set off the fireworks.

It’s estimated that nearly 15,000 professional fireworks display are put on each year. And, Americans light about 200 million pounds of fireworks, mainly imported from China.

Our national bird, the bald eagle, can achieve speeds of nearly 200 miles per hour when making a predatory dive. During a normal flight, the bald eagle can travel up to 30 miles per hour.

In the 19th century, apple pie was considered a healthy breakfast food, while the crust was not customarily eaten. Although, we’d bet many households still make an exception for eating apple for breakfast on occasion.

According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Americans consume over 150 million hot dogs during their Independence Day festivities. In 2018, Joey Chestnut set a new record, eating 74 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

Americans plan on spending a staggering $6.8 billion on for Independence Day with wine and beer totally $1.6 billion and fireworks $1 billion.

Though permanently emblazoned in our memories as an old man, Benjamin Franklin was actually an accomplished swimmer in his younger years.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!

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