Getty Images, photo by Michael Bocchieri
Getty Images, photo by Michael Bocchieri

With the 4th of July on Thursday here are a few things you may not have known about our national holiday:

1.       America didn’t declare our independence on the 4th of July. This is kind of a tit for tat situation because the Continental Congress declared our independence from the British on July 2 ,1776, which was the day of the actual vote, but the Declaration was published in the newspapers on July 4th, giving the people of the country their first look at it.

2.     The Declaration of Independence wasn’t completely signed on the 4th of July.  There were 56 delegates that signed the document and many were serving in the military, so it took some time for all of them to sign their names. The only one that actually signed the Declaration on the 4th was John Hancock. (who also had the largest signature)

3.       A future President and signer of the Declaration, John Adams, thought the celebration for our freedom was going to be July 2nd. (refer to #1) In a letter to his wife he predicted that date would go down in history.

4.       Today we celebrate the day with the colors red, white and blue, but the original celebrations were greener. Red, white and blue colors weren’t widely available, but greenery was so decorations were made from plants and such. In the beginning, cannons were fired to celebrate the day, but over the years cannons from the war started falling apart and were replaced by fireworks.

5.       The flag we know today was designed by a high school student from Ohio. As part of a school project, his teacher assigned him the task of creating a new flag when Alaska and Hawaii were admitted to the union. He simply added two stars to the flag that had 48, the result; he got a B-minus. Not happy with the grade, Robert Heft sent his design to President Eisenhower for consideration and the President personally picked his flag for the new Stars and Stripes. His teacher decided to change his grade to an A.

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