As we continue to return to normal activities, we soon will celebrate Independence Day, also known as The Fourth of July. This holiday has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues. Here are some interesting facts about our nation’s birthday:
- July 4 has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th Century. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence.
- John Adams believed that July 2 should have been recognized as our Independence Day as it was the day the Continental Congress accepted the Declaration. Some changes were made, and the final wording was approved on July 4. Annoyed that Independence Day was not celebrated on July 2, Adams reportedly turned down invitations to July 4 celebrations throughout his life.
- Most historians have concluded that only John Hancock and Charles Thompson signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and that the Declaration was signed by the others nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776.
- Congress declared July 4 as an official holiday in 1870 as part of a bill to officially recognize other holidays, Christmas being one of them.
- The average age of those who signed the Declaration of Independence was 45. The youngest, at age 26, were Thomas Lynch, Jr. and Edward Rutledge, both of South Carolina. The oldest delegate was Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania at age 70. Thomas Jefferson was 33.
- On July 6, 1776, the Pennsylvania Evening Post became the first newspaper to print the now-historic Declaration of Independence.
- John Adams, age 90, and Thomas Jefferson, age 82, both died on July 4, 1826, within 5 hours of each other, exactly 50 years after July 4, 1776. President James Monroe also died on July 4 and President Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4.
- Thomas Jefferson was the first President to hold a Fourth of July celebration at the White House in 1801.
- According to the National Sausage and Hot Dog Council (NHDSC), Americans are expected to eat 150 million hot dogs over the July 4th holiday. This is part of an estimated 7 billion that are expected to be eaten during the summer season from Memorial Day to Labor Day
- When the Declaration of Independence was signed, the population of the United States was 2.5 million, compared with 332,878,000 million today.
On behalf of the Voorhees Township Committee, have a safe and happy Fourth of July.
**On Thursday, July 1, The South Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra will hold a free concert in the park area in front of Town Hall. The concert will begin at 7:00p.m. This is a BYOC (bring your own chair) event. Food vendors will be available.
** Voorhees Township is offering discounted tickets to Morey’s Piers in Wildwood. Tickets are available in the Municipal Clerk’s Office at Voorhees Town Hall. Prices vary according to the type of ticket and several options are available to residents and non-residents. For more information about tickets, visit voorheesnj.com.