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Independence Day (4th of July) Trivia
The Fourth of July is the most patriotic of any American Holiday. With the exception of Thanksgiving, every other holiday is a religious/cultural one. (Christmas, Easter, Halloween, etc.) We all know the routine of the 4th: barbeque, flags and fireworks. Here in San Jose, there are multiple fireworks displays around the city. When I was kid, we would go to Great America Amusement Park and watch the fireworks display along with a boom box set to a specific radio station (I can’t remember which one) that played patriotic music that was synchronized with the explosions. To help celebrate this national holiday, I put together a list of trivia about Independence Day. Some things you may already know; others you might find surprising. Happy 4th of July!
1. The National Anthem is “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The music was written by a Brit from Gloucester named John Stafford Smith in the mid-1760s. It was originally titled “To Anacreon in Heaven” when it was first composed for the British Anacreontic Society. The words are taken from the poem, “The Defense of Fort McHenry”, by Francis Scott Key. He wrote the poem about the Battle of Baltimore (during the War of 1812) that took place on the night of September 13-14, 1814.
2. The"Star-Spangled Banner" was first recognized as a national anthem by the U.S. Navy in 1889; then, in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson. It was made the official national anthem by President Herbert Hoover in 1931. Before then the national anthem varied between “My Country ‘Tis Of Thee” and “Hail, Columbia”.
3. The 2nd of July is the date when the Declaration of Independence was presented to the Second Continental Congress in 1776. But it wasn’t ratified until the 4th . However; most historians believe that it wasn't until a whole month later, on August 2, 1776, when it was officially signed.
4. The first Independence Day anniversary was celebrated in 1777, with a 13-gunshot salute at dawn and at dusk in Bristol, Rhode Island.
5. Two American Presidents, John Adams (the 2nd) and Thomas Jefferson (the 3rd), both lived long enough to see the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence; they both actually died on the same day: July 4th 1826. Jefferson’s last words were, “Is it the Fourth, yet?” at 8 p.m. on the 3rd; he dies 17 hours later. Adams' last words were, “Thomas Jefferson survives”. Actually, Jefferson had dies a few hours earlier on the 4th.
6. James Monroe, the 5th American President, died on July 4, 1831. He was the 3rd president to die on the Fourth of July. He died on the 55th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
7. Calvin Coolidge, the 29th American President, was born on July 4, 1872. The only president, to date, to be born on Independence Day.
8. In 1870, Congress made it the 4th of July an official unpaid holiday for fed employees; then was changed to a paid one in 1938.
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