US Independence Day 2024: 10 fun facts about the 'Fourth of July'

Jul 06, 2024

Fire up the grill, dust off your red, white, and blue – it's Independence Day! The United States celebrates its independence on July 4th, a day that is full of parades, fireworks, and backyard cookouts. But beyond the hot dogs and sparklers, there's a treasure trove of interesting tidbits about this cherished American holiday.

Here are 10 fun facts to impress your friends and family at your Fourth of July gathering:

Declaration of Independence: The Continental Congress declared independence from Great Britain on July 2, 1776. However, the Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, was adopted on July 4th, which is why this date is celebrated as Independence Day.

Fireworks Tradition: The tradition of setting off fireworks on the Fourth of July dates back to the first anniversary of independence in 1777 when fireworks lit up the skies of Philadelphia.

Hot Dogs Galore: Americans consume an astonishing number of hot dogs on the Fourth of July. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, over 150 million hot dogs are consumed each year during this holiday.

The Liberty Bell: The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, a symbol of American independence, is tapped (not actually rung) thirteen times every July 4th to commemorate the original thirteen colonies.

Picnics and Barbecues: The Fourth of July is synonymous with outdoor picnics and barbecues. It's a day when families and friends gather to enjoy grilled food, potato salad, and other traditional American fare.

Close Call for Uncle Sam: The iconic image of Uncle Sam, a personification of the US government, almost looked quite different. The character was originally depicted with a different beard style, but a cartoonist in the War of 1812 solidified the goatee look we know today.

American Presidents: There have been 45 presidents before Joseph R. Biden, Jr., who was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States on January 20, 2021.

Holiday on July 4: The Fourth of July didn't become a federal holiday until July 28, 1870, when Congress passed an act declaring it as such.

American flag: The founding fathers did not designate a specific role or hold the flag in reverence. It wasn't until the mid-19th century that it gained a permanent place at the White House. Congress only passed a law in 1960 making it illegal to show disrespect to the flag.

Presidential Farewells: Three former US presidents passed away on July 4th: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in 1826, and James Monroe in 1831. An interesting coincidence, though some might say an oddly patriotic way to go.