Friday, July 04, 2008

Fun Facts

10 Surprising Facts About the Fourth of July
Second Continental Congress

Everyone loves Independence Day, the quintessential American holiday, full of parades, picnics, and ... surprising facts? You bet! Be the life of the party--share a few of these tasty nuggets of knowledge with your fellow picnickers this year.

1. Independence Day commemorates the formal adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. However, it was not declared a legal holiday until 1941.

Fireworks
2. Fireworks were made in China as early as the 11th century. The Chinese used their pyrotechnic mixtures for war rockets and explosives.
Uncle Sam Poster (Image credit: THE BETTMANN ARCHIVE)
3. Uncle Sam was first popularized during the War of 1812, when the term appeared on supply containers. Believe it or not, the U. S. Congress didn't adopt him as a national symbol until 1961.
4. There are many precise rules for taking care of the American flag. And speaking of flag traditions, we're sorry to report that contrary to legend, historical research has failed to confirm that Betsy Ross sewed the first flag.
American Revolution Uniforms
5. Not all members of the Continental Congress supported a formal Declaration of Independence, but those who did were passionate about it. One representative rode 80 miles by horseback to reach Philadelphia and break a tie in support of independence.
Liberty Bell, Pennsylvania (Image credit: Photo Researchers, Inc./Joseph Nettis)

6. The first two versions of the Liberty Bell were defective and had to be melted down and recast. The third version rang every Fourth of July from 1778 to 1835, when, according to tradition, it cracked as it was being tolled for the death of Chief Justice John Marshall.

7. The American national anthem, the "Star-Spangled Banner," is set to the tune of an English drinking song ("To Anacreon in Heaven").

Statue of Liberty (Image credit: Joseph Sohm/Corbis)

8. The iron framework of the Statue of Liberty was devised by French engineer Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, who also built the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

9. The patriotic poem "America the Beautiful" was published on July 4, 1895 by Wellesley College professor Katharine Lee Bates.

10. Father of the country and architect of independence George Washington held his first public office at the tender age of 17. He continued in public service until his death in 1799.


Hope everyone has a fun and SAFE 4th of July!

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