We here at Western New York Catholic Schools weren't going to let July slip from our grasp without touching on how we became known as Americans, the origin of our roots, Every year we dust off grills, light sparklers and gather to watch exciting fireworks displays in celebration of Independence Day. The Declaration of Independence is the document from which our country's founding principles were established. The tradition of celebrating the birth of our country goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. We invite you to read our list of 5 interesting facts about this national holiday. If you have interesting facts of your own to add to the discussion, feel free to add them in the comments section below!
1. Independence Day should have been two days earlier
The Continental Congress actually voted for independence on July 2, 1776. Founding father John Adams, whose edits were included in the final draft, even stated that July 2nd would be remembered in history and marked with celebratory tributes. He once included this sentiment in a letter to his wife, "the second day of July, 1776 will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival." The Declaration of Independence was dated July 4th but in reality it wasn't signed until August 2, 1776.
2. America isn't the only country celebrating
The Philippines and Rwanda celebrate their Independence on July 4 as well. The Philippines recognizes the date as "Republic Day" in honor of the day in 1946 when the U.S. officially recognized the Southeast Asian nation as an independent state.. "Liberation Day," as it's called in Rwanda, commemorates the end of the Rwandan Genocide in 1994.
3. The Authors
Thomas Jefferson penned the famous document's first draft while John Adams and Benjamin Franklin submitted subsequent edits. Jefferson eventually incorporated their contributions into the final version that was adopted.
4. It didn't become a national holiday until 1870
Americans first started recognizing the Fourth of July in 1777 when Philadelphia held the first major celebration, which included a parade, a thirteen-shot cannon salute. They also introduced fireworks as a way to celebrate the occasion. According to TIME magazine: "Congress didn't make it official until 1870, when it was part of a bill passed to recognize major state holidays at a federal level--like Independence Day, Christmas and New Year's Day. The Fourth did not become a paid holiday until 1938."
5. The Star Spangled Banner's melody came from an English club
When creating America's national anthem, Francis Scott Key set his lyrics to an already-written melody. "To Anacreon in Heaven" had already been adopted as the constitutional song of the Anacreontic Society -- a gentleman's club in London. The club was named after the Greek poet Anacreon and according to PBS, "the song was likely a tavern standard in colonial America."
As we start preparing to close out July, we think it's fun to look back and remember everything from jumping into the pool to eating tasty ice cream and celebrating Independence Day. July has surely brought the warm weather to enjoy all our favorite summer activities. Soon it will be time for students and faculty to start getting ready to go back to the best private elementary schools in Buffalo NY! We hope you learned some new and interesting things about the Fourth of July and that you're having a fantastic summer season. If you missed it, be sure to check out in this year's WNY school rankings
and we'll look forward to finding out what August has in store for everyone.