Happy Birthday, America!

Every July Forth we get together to say: Happy Birthday, America! We celebrate by hosting family BBQs, watching firework shows, and participating in patriotic parades. But, do you ever wonder why we celebrate this American holiday? The history of the Fourth of July is important to learn so here are some fun and interesting facts to share while you celebrate America’s birthday this summer.

Independence Day History

Independence Day is a federal holiday that celebrates the most influential day in American history. July 4, 1776 marked the day that America adopted the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence was drafted by Thomas Jefferson to serve as an official declaration of America’s independence from its mother country, England. The document symbolizes America’s core values that are still preserved within society today: equality, freedom, and happiness.

Most memorable quote from the Declaration of Independence:

“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.”

Fun Fourth of July Facts

  • The oldest Fourth of July parade started in 1785 in Bristol, Rhode Island and continues to be held there each year
  • The first Fourth of July party held at the White House was in 1801
  • Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on Independence Day, July 4, 1826
  • Nathan's annual July Fourth hot dog eating contest started in 1916 on Coney Island, New York. The eating contest was allegedly started as a way to settle a dispute among four immigrants as to who was the most patriotic.
  • The Fourth of July was not declared a national holiday until 1941
  • The words “Under God” were not added to the Pledge of Allegiance until 1954
  • The word “patriotism” comes from the Latin patria, which means “homeland” or “fatherland”
  • Eleven places have “independence” in their name. The most populous of these is Independence, Missouri, with 113,288 residents
  • Thirty places nationwide with “liberty” in their name. Iowa has more of these places than any other state: Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty and West Liberty

American Flag Facts

  • Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag in June 1776, as commissioned by the Congressional Committee
  • The stars on the original American flag were arranged in a circle to ensure that all colonies were equal
  • The original flag was made with 24 stars and 13 red and white stripes representing the original 13 colonies: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island
  • The current version of the US flag was designed by an 18 year old high school student and was officially adopted as the nation’s flag in 1958
  • The red, white and blue stripes are strictly defined as Dark Red (Pantone 193 C), White (Pantone safe), and Navy Blue (281 C)
  • 6 US flags are currently stationed on the moon
  • The flag must never touch the ground and must be illuminated when displayed at night

Popular July Fourth Songs

  • The Star Spangled Banner (national anthem)
  • God Bless America
  • My Country Tis of Thee
  • America the Beautiful
  • Yankee Doodle
  • Stars and Stripes
  • You’re a Grand Old Flag
  • This Land is Your Land

Now that you know the history of Independence Day and have some fun facts to share, why not create a July 4th trivia game for your party guests? Another idea is to play name that tune with some of the popular July 4th songs. See how well your guests know the words to our patriotic anthems!

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