Americans celebrate Independence Day on the 4th of July every year with fireworks, barbecues, and gatherings. We celebrate the birth of our nation and our freedom from Britain, and display our patriotism for our country in general. Many wear red, white, and blue clothing to signify our flag, and enjoy the historical songs associated with the United States, such as the national anthem, “God Bless America,” and others. However, many do not know the full history of the holiday, which is a shame, because some of the facts are quite interesting.
- The legal separation of the colonies from Great Britain actually occurred on July 2nd, 1776, not July 4th.
- The American Revolution had been going on since April of 1775.
- Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence in June of 1776.
- The Declaration of Independence was not signed until August 2, 1776, and did not reach Great Britain until November of that year.
- Oddly, of the Founding Fathers and former Presidents, three actually died on July 4th. Two of them, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, were signers of the Declaration. They died the same day: July 4th, 1826, exactly 50 years after the wording was approved by Congress. James Monroe died July 4th, 1831, becoming the third President in a row to die on that day.
- Only one President so far has been born on the 4th of July; 30th President Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4th, 1872.
- The first state legislature to recognize the day as an official holiday was Massachusetts, in 1781.
- Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees in 1870. It didn’t become a paid holiday until 1938, though at this point government workers in the District of Columbia were not included. It wasn’t until 1941 that Washington, DC federal workers got the paid holiday.
- It wasn’t until 1959 that it was designated that, when the 4th of July fell on a Saturday, that the Friday before would be the federal paid holiday.
- The reason all of the federal legislation specifies “federal employees” is because the United States actually has no official national holidays. The President and Congress are not allowed to legally establish a national holiday; they can only establish official holidays for federal employees. It is the responsibility of the states and municipalities to enact holiday observations.
We at Unlimited Care Cottages wish everyone a happy and festive Independence Day!
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