Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Monday, July 1, 2013

5 Facts about Independence Day

[I apologize to those who reside outside the United States as this will be a post about an American celebration that may not interest you.  Hopefully my next post will be more universal.]

This week in the US, we will mark the 237th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th.  We celebrate by taking the day off work, having picnics, attending concerts and setting off fireworks!

It is apparent that some people in my neighborhood have already begun celebrating.  One would be surprised to find out that most fireworks are illegal for the general public to set off in Pennsylvania considering all the fireworks being set off the week of the 4th.  It seems like a local tradition around here to set them off then hide from the cops. But I digress...

I went looking for some interesting facts that have to do with Independence Day and the signing of the Declaration and this is what I found out.

1. Two of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, both died on July 4th in 1826.  That day was the 50th anniversary of the signing of the document!

2. It took several decades before the day was celebrated as a holiday. The first public celebration at the White House of Independence day was on 1804 but it did not become a federal holiday until 1941.

3. The oldest man to sign the Declaration of Independence was Benjamin Franklin who was 70 years old at the time.

4. Even though the Declaration was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, the first and only man to sign the document on that particular day was John Hancock.  He did so as part of his role as the President of the Second Continental Congress.

5.  The last signer was Thomas McKean who did so in January, 1777.

May everyone have a safe and happy July 4th this week - even if that day isn't a celebration where you live.

Image obtained here

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