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What 4th of July is all about

Updated on June 10, 2013

Alex's First Birthday

Alex and Grandma D, July 4, 2010
Alex and Grandma D, July 4, 2010 | Source

A shared birthday

Alex William was born on the Fourth of July. His birth was celebrated with the highest of honors: a display of the most spectacular fireworks that snapped, crackled and popped. We stood at the large picture window in the hospital taking turns holding the little firecracker, as we watched the sky light up with green, red, blue and yellow.

His birthday will not be one that will be forgotten. He shares it with our country’s official date of birth: July 4, 1776. Although our country is over two centuries old, it is still considered a young nation and it was a much more difficult birth back in the eighteenth century in comparison to Alex’s entry into the world.

A brief history of the U.S. Independence Day

As the American Revolution raged on, it became evident that the American people had the tenacity to fight for the freedom to be separate from British government. But, not everyone agreed with the break from the monarchy and colonists found themselves pitted against their neighbors, not knowing who to trust-Loyalists, (for British rule), against Patriots, (or Freedom Fighters), and Patriots against the British soldiers.

Although the war did not end until 1781, and the Treaty of Paris was not signed until 2 years later, (in 1783), the Declaration of Independence was created as a statement of allegiance to their new territory and claiming severance of all ties with the British Empire. The document was drafted by a core committee of five prominent, political figures.

Predominately written by Thomas Jefferson, the document explained the grievances the colonists had with Great Britain and supported their drive for secession. Once drafted, the document was given the nod of approval by the Continental Congress on July 2, but with suggestions for changes. When the changes were finalized, the document was fully received on July 4, 1776.

The Declaration of Independence most quoted lines

Housed in the National Archives in Washington DC, the Declaration of Independence is a historical document filled with details of the grievances that the settlers had with their home government, specific to what was happening to them in the eighteenth century. However, the most famous and most quoted lines that the average person recognizes are the following:

“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

These words are the foundation in which our nation was developed. We value the meaning behind the words, and our pages of history have shown the consequences when these truths have not been honored. More than once, we have fought with, and against, each other in battle defending our rights as we have interpreted them through this powerful document.

As we celebrate July 4th in our own backyards, in our towns and states, individually and collectively, it is important to give pause to the significance of the day. More than a BBQ with family and friends, sparklers for the kids, and fireworks that brighten a darkened sky, it is about the truth of a belief that was led by a core group of people, our ancestors. The bravery that these men and women exhibited set precedence for all of us to hold true to our beliefs.

*Modern discoveries of the Declaration of Independence

On Friday, July 2, 2010, using a high tech method of photography to uncover what was beneath the smudged document of the original Declaration of Independence draft, research analysts discovered a critical error that was made, and corrected, by Thomas Jefferson.

According to librarian, James Billington, of the U.S. Library of Congress; the document was removed from the oxygen free vault for a scrutinizing examination of the ‘smudges’ that were left on the original draft. The Declaration of Independence was last removed 15 years ago.

Research chemist, Fenalla France, examined the smudges with a high resolution imaging process, and this smudge in particular caught her attention. The exam revealed that one of the smudges had initially been the word ‘subjects’ and was wiped away in exchange for the word, ‘citizens’. The word ‘subjects’ is a word typically used in a monarch government, and would have been appropriate had it not been for the colonists pull to break from the British rule. The decisive crossroad that Jefferson faced was to firmly establish this independent nation, and his rewording is felt to have been a pivotal moment in history.

A special celebration

Alex always gets a sparkler on his birthday cake.
Alex always gets a sparkler on his birthday cake. | Source

Historical July 4th Births and Deaths

Do you ever wonder who shares your birth date? On this historical day, Alex William shares his birthday with a number of prominent people. And, not the least among them is President Obama’s eldest daughter, Malia, born in 1998. Coincidentally, three of our past Presidents died on the 4th of July, two on the exact same date. Here is a partial list of the famous:


1804 Nathaniel Hawthorne-author: The Scarlett Letter.

1826 Stephen Foster-songwriter: The Campdown Races; Oh, Susannah, and more.

1847 James Bailey-founder of the Bailey Circus.

1872 Calvin Coolidge-30th U.S. President.

1881 Ulysses S. Grant III-American soldier and grandson of General U.S. Grant.

1900 Louis Armstrong-jazz musician.

1918 Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren, (twin sisters),-advice columnists.

1924 Eva Marie Saint-actress: Hitchcock’s North by Northwest.

1927 Neil Simon-playwright: Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, and more.

1929 Al Davis-owner of the Oakland Raiders.

1930 George Steinbrenner-owner of the New York Yankees.

1946 Ron Kovic-disabled V.N. war veteran.

1998 Malia Obama-daughter of President Obama.


1826 John Adams-second U.S. President.

1826 Thomas Jefferson-third U.S. President.

1831 James Monroe-fifth U.S. President.


Frayer, L., (3 July, 2010), “Goof appears in Declaration of Independence”. Accessed 3 July, 2010 from http://www.jefferson-made-slip-in-declaration-of-independence/19540941.


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    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      4 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Au fait, June has really flown by, hasn't it? Thanks for the share and votes. I will share your birthday wishes with Alex who happens to be turning six this year!

      Kathleen O-thank you for reading and commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      Hi Hankscita-I love to share new info I've learned, and especially when I read that others have learned something new as well. Thanks!

    • Hankscita profile image


      4 years ago from Florida

      Great Hub, love learning new stuff!

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image

      Kathleen Odenthal 

      4 years ago from Bridgewater

      Beautiful hub and very well written!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      4 years ago from North Texas

      Hard to believe the 4th of July is next week. This article is a great history lesson and review that everyone should take the time to read. Hope Alex has a great birthday too!

      Voted up, AUI, pinned to Awesome HubPages, and shared with followers.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      4 years ago from North Carolina

      Awww, thanks for visiting RT. :) My little guy is now turning 6! Where does the time go?

    • RTalloni profile image


      4 years ago from the short journey

      Happy birthday to your little Alex and thanks for posting this 4th of July info.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      5 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Audrey, I appreciate your compliments, :) Thanks for your comments and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Take day we will REALLY visit!

      Hi Kerry, thank you for sharing your situation here. Glad to know it was helpful. I'll be sure to plant lots of birthday kisses on the birthday boy! :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Thanks, Denise, this is terrific. As I was born elsewhere and now make the U.S. my home, I try to set time aside to learn about the history of this beautiful land. I enjoyed this article.

      And happy birthday kisses for the little man in your life there xxx

      Kerry :)

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Oh Denise, Alex is so adorable. What a little man he is. I must say, you don't look old enough to be a grandmother :) Happy Birthday to this little guy on the 4th. How special it is to be born on this date. What a marvelous hub this is. Thank you for writing it. A perfect presentation!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      5 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Linda, thanks for the birthday wishes to Alex. :) I once dated a man who proposed and used the fourth as the wedding date so he wouldn't forget the date. We never did marry, so I guess those fireworks fizzled, lol

      Thanks for your comments. :)

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Happy early Birthday to Alex! What a great day to be born. My niece was married on the 4th. She said she wanted fireworks on her anniversary each year. I thought the 4th was just to annoy dogs with all the booms :)I'm glad it has more meaning! Spectacular hub Denise!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Gail, It always surprises me when an 'older' hub, such as this one, gets read. Thanks for your comments. It was difficult NOT to tie his b-day in with the hub, LOL In writing it I wanted to find some new and different info to offer and by checking the news that day the tidbit popped up. Timely and beneficial for me.

      Thanks for visiting. :)

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      8 years ago from South Carolina

      Awesome hub. I love the way you tied your grandson's birth into it, and the little known facts about the original draft of the Declaration of Independence. Thanks for sharing this hub.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Saleheen, so nice to see you here. How do you play mafia war? Thanks for commenting. :)

    • saleheensblog profile image


      8 years ago from Dhaka,Bangladesh

      I used to play mafia war where in 4th of July special gifts were offered, I always wondered why 4th of July was an important day, now I know the history. Thanks for the hub.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Kevin-thanks for reading the hub and leaving a comment. Yes, Mr. Alex is a keeper, LOL I get to play with him when I visit this Halloween w/e.

      I see you are a new member--welcome to Hubpages. I hope you enjoy the community here. I'll be looking for your profile info :) (call me curious).

    • kevinex profile image


      8 years ago

      Interesting hub. Your grandson is very cute. :)

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Wilderness, thanks for stopping in to read the hub. :)

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 

      8 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      A well thought out hub, with some interesting information that was new to me. Thank you.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Hey Micky Dee-how was your 4th? 'Explosive', I hope!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      Great "4th" thoughts!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Oh Marie, that is funny...about the Spanish 'O'. LOL.

      Well, we're glad you're here. I can relate to your s.o. I was born and raised in Michigan. That makes us both Midwesterns.

      John and Kim-thanks for the stop by and Happy 4th to you. K-I checked out my daughters birthday photos today, Alex is hilarious in a funky, 'birthday cake' hat with candles on it. He loves it now...can't wait till he revisits it at age 14, LOL

    • kaltopsyd profile image


      8 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

      Great Hub. Happy 4th of July and happy birthday to Alex!

    • John B Badd profile image

      John B Badd 

      8 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Great hub and happy 4th.

    • VioletSun profile image


      8 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Hi Denise, I was born in Colombia, SA and immigrated to the USA at age 7; my s/o is American, was born in Ohio, so his idea of Spanish is adding an "0" to the end of each sentence. LOL.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Joni, and you also. How are you celebrating today?

    • Joni Douglas profile image

      Joni Douglas 

      8 years ago

      Happy Independence Day to you!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Marie, thanks for stopping in to read the hub. I did not know you were not born here--care to share where you were originally from? Happy Independence Day and I'm glad your here- :) Thanks for the rating.

    • VioletSun profile image


      8 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Thanks for writing this, adds to the celebration of Independence Day. The modern findings was something I was not aware of. I became an American Citizen in 1974 and feel priviliged to live in the USA.

      Happy Fourth of July!

      Have rated your hub up.


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