Beach Day by Rodger Bliss
June 2024

Independence Day

Happy Fourth of July

As we celebrate Independence Day with fireworks and picnics, we should pause to remember all the many reasons we celebrate this day.
On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates signed the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. People celebrated so heartily that they cracked the Liberty Bell by ringing it so hard. The day also commemorates the death of two of our greatest patriots– John Adams and Thomas Jefferson—exactly 50 years later. One year later Betsy Ross designed our first American Flag.

Which one of these statements is actually true?

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3 guesses to Independence Day

  • Nanao Ise

    …The one about the deaths of our greatest patriots.

    The Liberty Bell actually broke while it was rung for the celebration of Washington’s birthday.

    Betsy Ross designed our first American flag the same year the Declaration was written, I do believe.

    And it would seem that most delegates actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 2nd, not July 4th.

  • Adorkable Heart

    The fact that we celebrate Independents Day with fireworks and picnics is true.

  • Correct Nanao Ise!

    1. The Declaration of Independence Was Signed on July 4th. FALSE
    Independence Day is celebrated two days too late. The Second Continental Congress voted for a Declaration of Independence on July 2, prompting John Adams to write his wife, “I am apt to believe that [July 2, 1776], will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.”
    Adams correctly foresaw shows, games, sports, buns, bells, and bonfires—but he got the date wrong. The written document wasn’t edited and approved until the Fourth of July, and that was the date printers affixed to “broadside” announcements sent out across the land. July 2 was soon forgotten.
    (Related: “U.S. Independence Celebrated on the Wrong Day?”)
    In fact, no one actually signed the Declaration of Independence at any time during July 1776. Signing began on August 2, with John Hancock’s famously bold scribble, and wasn’t completed until late November.

    2. July 4, 1776, Party Cracked the Liberty Bell. FALSE
    U.S. independence surely prompted a party, but joyful patriots didn’t ring the Liberty Bell until it cracked on July 4, 1776. In fact the State House Bell likely didn’t ring at all that day. It probably did ring, along with the city’s other bells, to herald the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence on July 8, according to a history of the bell published by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission.
    As for that crack, well, the bell had been poorly cast and cracked soon after its arrival in 1752. The bell was subsequently recast, and recracked, several times but was intact during the Revolutionary War.
    Today’s iconic crack actually appeared sometime during the 19th century, though the exact date is in dispute. It was also during this period that the bell became popularly known as the Liberty Bell—a term coined by abolitionists.

    3. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson did indeed die on this date
    Incredibly both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson did die on the Fourth of July, 1826. The day does seem inauspicious for presidents, however. The less celebrated James Monroe also died on July 4, in 1831.

    4. Betsy Ross designed the First American Flag. FALSE
    There is no proof that Betsy Ross played any part in designing or sewing the American flag that made its debut in 1777. In fact, the story of the famous seamstress didn’t circulate until it was raised by her grandson nearly a century after the fact, and the only evidence is testimony to this family tradition.

    You are today’s winner.

    Adorkable Heart, your point is true, as well.