At least 40% of American’s have no idea what country we declared independence from. That’s a very sad testament to our current educational system. Ask today’s youth about Pearl Harbor, The Alamo, D-Day, or the Civil War and their eyes glaze over and the texting begins. Everyone knows July 4th is a National Holiday they’re just not sure what we’re celebrating with fireworks, hot dogs and Bar-B-Q.

Some Independence Day Trivia

Exactly when did the colonists declare their independence from the British monarchy? The official vote of America’s first Continental Congress actually took place on July 2nd and the final version was published in newspapers two days later on July 4th.

What Are The Odds?

Due to term limits there are usually five past and present presidents alive at any one time. So what are the odds of two presidents dying on the same day? What are the odds of two founding fathers both dying on July 4th? That distinction belongs to Thomas Jefferson 82 and John Adams 90. Jefferson went first with Adams following a short five hours later.

The Original Signers of the Declaration of Independence

We’ve all seen the historic paintings depicting the room full of men taking their turns signing the Declaration of Independence. Fifty-six men signed the original document but not all at once. The only signer on July 2nd was John Hancock. It took several months for the document to find it’s way to all the other signers.

As American As Apple Pie?

We’ve all heard the old saying, “As American as apple pie.” Well it seems that there was only one type of apple in the US. All the others were brought over from Europe along with the famous apple pie recipe we all know and love. So the next time someone uses that phrase you can set him or her straight on the history of apple pie.

Who Invented the Hot Dog?

Every years thousands flock to Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs in New York for the annual hot dog eating contest. As with most traditions, opinions vary as to who invented the hot dog and when it entered the American lexicon.

One story gives credit to a New York Giants vendor who first dubbed them “red hots.” Another version concerns a frankfurter vendor in New Jersey who created a line of sausages he nicknamed “hot dogs,” and the name stuck.

Some Final Thoughts

In 1776, the new America dissolved the bonds between it and Great Britain. The Founding Fathers were not only looking for more individual freedom but freedom from government control. They felt that citizens, not government, should decide the direction of the new country. Government would be necessary but it would serve at the pleasure of the most common citizen. Not the other way around.

As we move into the 238th year of this great nation I have to wonder about the direction and increasing control government seems to be flexing upon us. What light bulbs we can use, the size of our soft drinks, our guns, the intrusions into our privacy under the guise of it being “for the public good.”

As you light your firecrackers, down that hot dog and apple pie try to imagine those 56 men standing together for something that for the past 200 plus years has been an amazing force in the world. So often we take all the freedoms we enjoy for granted and whine about how tough life is. Today I plan to silently think those 56 men for their vision and dedication. Not taking anything for granted.

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