In case you don't want to head to the National Mall with half a million of your not new best friends, here is a little bit of trivia about the 4th that you may not have known!
1. It actually took place on July 2. The Continental Congress voted for American independence on July 2, 1776. It was two days later on July 4 that the Congress fully accepted the Declaration of Independence.
2. John Hancock was the only member of the Continental Congress who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4. Most of the signers did not add their names until August 2, 1776. Thomas McKean was the last to sign.
3. The first Independence Day celebrations took place a year later in 1777 in Bristol, Rhode Island and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Fireworks made their first appearance on that date - and are still with us! Bristol still celebrates today - starting on Flag Day and going all the way through to Independence Day, concluding with a patriotic parade. Clearly those Rhode Islanders know how to celebrate!
4. The now American-celebrated song, Yankee Doodle, was originally written by officers of the British army to make fun of backwoods Americans.
5. Three United States presidents died on the Fourth of July: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe. But did you know that one president was born on the 4th of July? Calvin Coolidge claims that honor!
6. July 4th is also celebrated in the Philippines, because in 1946, the country was recognized as an independent nation. Rwanda celebrates July 4 as Liberation Day!
7. In one year, $600 million is spent on fireworks alone in the U.S.
8. Thomas Jefferson was the first president to celebrate the 4th of July in the White House back in 1804.
9. Around 150 million hot dogs are consumed on Fourth of July (wonder if this statistic includes the hot dogs consumed during the annual Nathan's Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest?)
10. The Fourth of July did not become a federal holiday until 1938.