Of Fireworks, Hot Dogs, and Why July 4th Really Counts

Of Fireworks, Hot Dogs, and Why July 4th Really Counts

Erik S. Lesser, Stringer/Getty Images

This, then, is the state of the union: free and restless, growing and full of hope.So it was in the beginning. So it shall always be, while God is willing, and we are strong enough to keep the faith.  ~Lyndon B. Johnson

Tomorrow we will celebrate Independence Day, the 241st anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

A celebratory holiday more than some of the more somber dates that we as a nation mark throughout the calendar year, Independence Day is one of fireworks, picnics, parades, family reunions and many other forms of commemoration.

All that is important, do take a moment in these challenging times to reflect on the significance of the day: How we handle the months and years ahead will define America's future. 

The following facts may be of interest:

  • The Declaration of Independence began as a letter to King George to explain why the Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain.

  • Due to concerns about cracking, the Liberty Bell has not been rung since 1846.  Every year it is tapped 13 times in honor of the original 13 colonies to signal the Country’s bells to start ringing.

  • The first paper to print the Declaration of Independence was the Pennsylvania Evening Post.

  • The printer, John Dunlap, was asked to make about 200 copies to be distributed throughout the colonies. Only 26 of these copies have survived.

  • The Declaration has only left the capital twice. The first time was when the British attacked Washington during the War of 1812, and the second was during World War II from late 1941 until the fall of 1944 when it was stored at Fort Knox.

  • The value of U.S. imports of American flags in 2016 was $5.4 million.  The vast majority - $5.3 million – were imported from China.
  • The value of U.S. exports of U.S. flags in 2016 was $27.8 million – the majority going to Mexico ($26.1 million.)

  • The number of people reporting English ancestry in the U.S. is 23,959,441, ranking third behind those claiming German and Irish ancestry.

  • "Yankee Doodle," one of many patriotic songs in the United States, was originally sung prior to the Revolution by British military officers who mocked the “Yankees” with whom they fought during the French and Indian War.

  • Americans consume around 155 million hot dogs on the Fourth of July each year. They also spend $92 million on chips, $167.5 million on watermelon, and $341.4 million on beer.

As we gather with family and friends and enjoy a long holiday weekend, take a moment to reflect upon those who forged the path to our nation’s independence.  Though our country is making its way in a world that is more challenged than ever, we are still a nation that believes in striving for the best and making that world a better place -- and that is something to celebrate.