Red, White & Blue

After the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776, the day has been celebrated each year in honor of America’s freedom. As we prepare for the holiday this weekend, here are a few fun facts about the day:

  • Two days after voting for independence, on July 4th, the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, which had been written largely by Thomas Jefferson. But it wasn’t signed by most signatories until August! From then on, the 4th became the day that was celebrated as the birth of American independence, not the 2nd, the day of the actual vote. John Adams reportedly declined invitations to appear at July 4th festivities in protest of the “incorrect” date.
  • On yet another date, the first Independence Day celebration took place in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776. This was also the day that the Declaration of Independence was first read in public after people were summoned by the ringing of the Liberty Bell.
  • Adams, at age 90, and Jefferson, at age 82, both died on July 4, 1826, within five hours of each other—the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. James Monroe died exactly five years later. One future President was actually born on the fourth: Calvin Coolidge.
  • Independence Day celebrations today have remained pretty close to the traditions started in 1777 with fireworks, patriotic decorations, and good food.
    • According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, around 15,000 fireworks displays occur for the Fourth of July holiday. Over $1 billion are spent on fireworks each year. Only 10% of firework displays are professionally set off, which could be a reason for the 13,000 firework-related emergency room visits across the country.
    • According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, about 150 million hot dogs are consumed each year around the holiday.
    • The National Retail Federation indicates that the average amount spent on food per person is $73 to celebrate Independence Day.
    • The Beer Institute reports that "more beer is sold on and around the Fourth of July holiday than during any other time throughout the year." The US population will spend about $1 billion on beer and more than $560 million on wine for the celebrations.