On the Fourth of July, we celebrate our declaration of independence from colonial tyranny with family gatherings, barbecues, parties, games, food, fun, festivals, parades, musical events, and fireworks. While all of these events are delightful, let us never forget the significance of the Fourth of July, a day in 1776 when courageous members of the Continental Congress—people soon to be “Americans”—published a moral standard by which we continue evaluate our actions and actions:
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.
Members of the Continental Congress set thirteen colonies on the road to becoming a sovereign nation. The road would not an easy one, for there was a war yet to be won and a constitution yet to be written.
To give you some fun facts to talk about during your celebrations I found on the internet some interesting trivia:
- In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly declared independent nation.
- 311.7 million–the estimated population on this Fourth of July.
- In 2010, the dollar value of U.S. imports of American flags was $2.8 million, the majority made in China.
- When Alaska and Hawaii became states, a fifty-star flag had to be designed. High school student Robert Heft produced such a flag as a school project and received a grade of B-. Robert sent his design to Dwight Eisenhower, who chose it over other designs. The grade was changed to A.
- $190.7 million–the value of fireworks imported from China in 2010, representing the bulk of all U.S. fireworks imported ($197.3 million). U.S. exports of fireworks, by comparison, came to just $37.0 million in 2010, with Japan purchasing more than any other country ($6.3million). Towns with Patriotic Names
- Thirty-one places have “liberty” in their names. The most populous one as 2010, is Liberty, MO (29,149). Iowa has four such towns (more than any other state): Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty, and West Liberty.
- Thirty-five places have “eagle” in their names. The most populous one is Eagle Pass, Texas (26,248). • Eleven places have “independence” in their names. The most populous one is Independence, MO (116,830).
- Nine places have “freedom” In their names. The most populous one is New Freedom, PA (4,464).
- One place has “patriot” in the name, Patriot, IN (209).
- Five places have “America” In their names. The most populous is American Fork, Utah (26,263).
Fourth of July Cookouts
- More than 1 in 4—the chance that the hot dogs and pork sausages you consume on the Fourth of July originated in Iowa.
- 6.8 billion pounds–the total production of cattle and calves in Texas. Chances are good that the beef hot dogs, steaks, and burgers on your grill will come from the Lone Star State, which accounts for about 1/6 of the nation’s total production. And if the beef did not come from Texas, it likely came from Nebraska or Kansas. The Date
- The Fourth of July became a holiday only in 1870 and a federal legal holiday in 1941.
- John Adams thought the celebration would be the Second of July, since that was the actual date of the Declaration’s approval before its subsequent publication.
While these fun facts may pique picnic conversation, let us take a moment or two to think about the reasons we celebrate, to thank and remember those who have sacrificed to safeguard our freedom, to declare again that we are equal in the eyes of God, and to affirm the “unalienable rights” endowed to us by our Creator.
I wish you all a happy and safe Fourth of July. Enjoy your celebrations, but also remember the reason we celebrate. Let us remind ourselves that we must cherish and protect our freedom. And let us thank and remember those who have sacrificed to defend our liberty and our rights as human beings—our veterans and service members, of course, but also who, like James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, made the ultimate sacrifice fifty summers ago.
Patricia W. Savage President/CEO