In 1776, the Second Continental Congress declared the United States of America an independent nation not on July 4, as more than two centuries of Independence Day celebrations would suggest, but on July 2.
John Adams, a congressional delegate from Massachusetts and a future president of the new nation, wrote about the vote for independence in a letter to his wife, Abigail: “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
So why do Americans celebrate Independence Day on July 4th? Because that was the date on the Declaration of Independence, a document that was widely publicized and reprinted from one end of the fledgling nation to the other. As a result, the Fourth of July quickly became associated with personal liberty and national independence in the minds of all Americans.
The Second Continental Congress declared the United States of America an independent nation not on July 4, but on July 2 (photo Wikipedia)
The Fourth of July was not a federal holiday until 1941. Although July 4 had long been celebrated as the Independence Day holiday by tradition, and even by congressional decree, it was not officially a federal holiday until Congress agreed to give federal employees the day off with pay – and that didn’t happen until 1941.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who had been leaders in the American Revolution and US presidents as well as personal friends and political adversaries throughout much of their long lives, died on the same day, July 4, 1826. Their deaths came exactly 50 years after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which Thomas Jefferson had drafted and both men signed.
As John Adams was near death on the evening of July 4, 1826, his last words were reported to be: “Thomas Jefferson still survives.”
John Adams was mistaken. Jefferson had died approximately five hours earlier.
In July 1776, there were approximately 2.5 million people living in the newly independent United States of America, roughly the same number of people who currently live in Brooklyn, New York.
After much debate among the Founding Fathers, the bald eagle was chosen as the new American symbol and appeared as the centerpiece of the national seal. Benjamin Franklin never really embraced the choice.
The first public recognition of American independence was in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776, just a few days after Congress declared the nation’s independence from Great Britain. The Liberty Bell sounded from the tower of Independence Hall, summoning people to the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon. Even though Congress had adopted the Declaration on July 4, it was not publicly announced until July 8, after the document came back from the printer.
The first annual commemoration of American independence occurred on July 4, 1777, in Philadelphia while Americans were still at war with the British, fighting to hold onto the liberty they had declared for themselves a year earlier.
The 98th annual Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest will air live on ESPN on July 4th at 1 PM Eastern.
The Nathan’s Famous qualifying tour is conducted each year in cities across the U.S. and beyond.
“The annual qualifying circuit enables us to bring a genuine taste of Coney Island to cities near and far, and I am especially pleased we’ll be hosting our first qualifying event on the boardwalk at Coney Island,” said Wayne Norbitz, President and COO of Nathan’s Famous, Inc.
“There is no better way to show our commitment to Coney Island and all its businesses, residents and fans than to kick off the summer season with a great event on the boardwalk.”
In recent years, an estimated 40,000 fans have made the pilgrimage to the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island to watch the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog-Eating Contest in person. The ESPN telecast of the event drew an audience of over 1 million viewers in 2012. It is anticipated that Nathan’s Famous will make a donation of 100,000 Nathan’s Famous hot dogs to the Food Bank for New York City, as it does each year.
Joey Chestnut of San Jose, CA, holds the world record for eating 68 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs and Buns in 10 minutes, and he will seek his seventh straight title this year – a world record. Sonya Thomas of Alexandria, VA, will defend her title as Female Champion. She consumed 45 Hot Dogs and Buns in 10 minutes last year, setting a new women’s world record.
According to archives, the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest has occurred each July 4th in Coney Island, NY since 1916, the year Nathan Handwerker opened the legendary restaurant. Major League Eating, the governing body of all stomach-centric sport, sanctions the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Circuit and ensures the contests are judged professionally and that safety standards are in place at each event.
Those interested in competing in a Nathan’s Famous qualifier should visit www.nathansfamous.com to obtain information and register. All competitors must be over 18 years of age.
In recent years, an estimated 40,000 fans have made the pilgrimage to the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island to watch the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog-Eating Contest in person
About Nathan’s Famous
Nathan’s products are currently distributed in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Cayman Islands and six foreign countries through its restaurant system, foodservice sales programs and product licensing activities. The Nathan’s restaurant system currently consists of 302 units, comprised of 297 franchised units and five company-owned units (including one seasonal unit). Additionally, Nathan’s Famous hot dogs are sold in over 25,000 retail and foodservice locations. Last year, in total, over 430 million Nathan’s hot dogs were sold.
Millions of Americans are set to celebrate the Fourth of July with as much fervor and as many fireworks as the weather will allow.
Picnics have been planned, barbeques will be lit and the beaches will be swamped with red, white and blue for the country’s Independence Day.
AAA, one of the nation’s largest travel agencies, projects 42.3 million Americans will hit the road, traveling 50 miles or more from home between July 3 and July 8 for all the festivities.
Last year, when the holiday fell on a Monday, 40.3 million people traveled. But before you think it’s a big increase, note that AAA’s economists changed how they estimated the number of travelers: They used a six-day period this year compared to five last year.
The typical traveler will spend $749 over six days, down from $807 over five days last year, according to an online survey of 344 people conducted for AAA. Another look at the holiday, by Visa Inc., shows that all Americans – whether traveling or not – will spend an average of $191 on July 4th activities, down from $216 last year. Visa surveyed 1,012 people by telephone.
The overwhelming majority of Independence Day travelers plan to drive: 35.5 million people or 84% of travelers according to AAA. As they do, they’ll get a break at the pump.
Lower gas prices, at $3.33 a gallon nationwide compared with $3.55 a year ago, are a factor in the longer drives.
“What the survey indicates is that Americans have an appetite for travel…,” Cynthia Brough, a spokeswoman for the American Automobile Association, said.
Midwesterners will spend the most to celebrate the holiday, laying out an average of $211, while those in the Northeast will spending $40 less, the Visa survey found.
According to Jason Alderman, senior director of global financial education at Visa, the holiday is bigger in Midwestern cities and towns, while Northeastern cities have more concentrated gatherings and firework displays.
Millions of Americans are set to celebrate the Fourth of July with as much fervor and as many fireworks as the weather will allow
Temperatures across the nation are expected to reach the high 90s Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) over the next several days, according to AccuWeather.com.
More than 1.4 million people from Illinois to Virginia remained without power Tuesday after the weekend’s violent storms, and forecasts indicate that there’s little hope for any reprieve from Mother Nature.
Power companies said that the heat wave will keep some customers without power for the rest of the week, unable to turn on their air conditioners, surf the web or even turn on the lights.
“This is the worst outage we’ve ever had,” said Jeri Matheny, spokeswoman for Appalachia Power, which serves most of southern West Virginia, to CNN.
“We’ll end up rebuilding large pieces of an infrastructure system in five to seven days that took decades to build.”
The storms have also brought on heavy rain or desperately dry conditions which will likely stay through the 4th of July, causing fireworks to be cancelled pre-emptively in numerous areas.
The storms crossed the Eastern United States with heavy rain, hail and winds reaching 80 miles per hour starting Friday night, leaving more than 3 million homes and businesses without the power, according to a federal energy report.
The storms also claimed at least 22 lives, mostly from falling trees and branches across the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states.
Ken Mallette, executive director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, told CNN that the damage compared to Hurricane Irene’s visit last year.
“We got a hurricane punch without a hurricane warning,” he said.
Independence Day celebrations were cancelled across Maryland, including ones schedule in Kensington, Germantown, Rockville and Gaithersburg, officials said.
Summer camps have also been cancelled and residents are flocking to libraries, malls pools and anywhere else that might have power – and air conditioning – to keep cool.
“If you need to charge your phone or you need Internet or anything, you show up here and it’s literally a madhouse,” Jacqueline Hirsch told CNN affiliate WJLA-TV.
The Bethesda, Maryland, resident ran to the local library, only to find hundreds of others with the same idea.
The National Weather Service issued extreme heat warnings were Tuesday for portions of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan, saying those areas would be hit with temperatures near or above triple digits on the 4th.
Similar warnings were already in place for a handful of states, including parts of Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.
American Electric Power Co Inc of Ohio said Tuesday morning that crews were working to restore power to 357,000 customers in Virginia and West Virginia; 298,000 in Ohio; 32,000 in Indiana; and 14,000 in Kentucky.
FirstEnergy Corp of Ohio said it had 216,000 customers out in its five-state service area of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey. That was down from about the initial 566,000 affected by the storms.
Illinois-based Exelon Corp said its Baltimore Gas & Electric (BG&E) unit in Maryland had about 170,000 customers out, down from about 600,000 homes and businesses affected.
Virginia power company Dominion Resources Inc said it still had more than 170,000 customers without electricity in its Virginia and North Carolina service areas.
Washington, D.C.-based Pepco Holdings Inc said it had more than 116,000 customers without power in the District of Columbia and Maryland and more than 69,000 out in New Jersey.
A massive solar flare is expected on 4th of July, the day in which America celebrates its independence.
According to reports at 10:52 UT the sun’s active region AR1515 released a M5.6-class solar flare towards Earth, sending X-ray and extreme ultraviolet radiation in our direction.
Discovery revealed that the flare was almost strong enough to become an X-class flare, the most powerful variety of solar eruption.
The sun’s active region AR1515 released a M5.6-class solar flare towards Earth, sending X-ray and extreme ultraviolet radiation in our direction
While the solar flare is not harmful to humans on the ground it does wreak havoc on the upper atmosphere by sending ionization waves through the ionosphere, in some cases causing disruptions to global communications.
The solar flare according to Spaceweather.com was discovered by Rob Stemmes of the Polar Light Center in Lofoten, Norway. A powerful SID was witnessed over Europe only a short time after the flare erupted from the sun.
Solar flares have been around for as long as the sun and happen in cycles along the sun’s photosphere (solar surface).
Space.com reports that this first solar flare is just the start of what is expected to be a solar storm that reaches well into Fourth of July festivities.
With a wave of plasma expected to Earth by Independence Day it looks like there will be more in our skies than just fireworks and if we could actually see the solar flare show with our own eyes, well we would go blind but before that we would stare in amazement at mother nature’s own massive fireworks display.