a simple lifestyle blog
The celebration of American independence from Great Britain as outlined by the Declaration of Independence is fast approaching.
In school, history was, shall we say, not my best subject. I tended to have teachers that were all about the dates and dry informative facts and less about the stories of how people and places develop over time. Whereas my husband, for example, had teachers who wove stories together in their classes and made learning about these things engaging and interesting and because of that he developed a great love for the rich history of our world. I definitely earned my own grades, don’t get me wrong. Now that I’ve done some traveling, I’ve discovered that I get a lot out of a place when I am actually there and can put together the historical significance visually.
All that to say, when it comes to the Fourth of July (or any other historical holiday, really) I am a bit…
… out of touch.
So, I did some “web surfing” (isn’t that what you kids are calling it these days?) and compiled a fun little list of 4th of July facts that I certainly didn’t know about and perhaps you didn’t either.
1. The modern 50-star flag was created by a 16-year old high school student in Ohio in 1958. Robert G. Heft, along with his fellow classmates, was assigned to redesign the national banner to include recognition of Alaska and Hawaii, both nearing statehood, both of which had nearly gained their statehood at the time. At the time, he only earned a B- on the project, but when his design was sent to Washington D.C. and chosen by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as the new American flag, his teacher raised his grade to an A.
Heft was not the only person to submit a flag design with alternating rows of five and six stars, but he was the only one who actually stitched together a flag and shipped it to D.C. Therefore, his design became the official national flag in 1960.
2. Famous Broadway composer, Irving Berlin, shelved “God Bless America” for 20 years because he didn’t think it was very good. He was asked to compose a comedy/musical show to help raise money for an on-base community house when he was drafted for World War I in 1918. The song was for the finale, but after only a few rehearsals, Berlin decided it was not right and pulled it from the show. It wasn’t until 1938 when “The First Lady of Radio,” Kate Smith, requested a patriotic ballad to sing when World War II broke out that Berlin handed over “God Bless America” and the rest is history.
3. Apple pie did not come from America. “As American as apple pie” may be a bit of a misnomer considering all except one breed of apple is not indigenous to America. It actually came to America by way of the English colonies and yet it is highly prevalent in patriotic festivities and celebrations.
4. The 4th of July also commemorates the deaths of 2 American presidents. The second and third president of the United States died on the same day in the same year 50 years after the day of Independence. Thomas Jefferson passed away July 4th, 1826 at the age of 83 and John Adams passed away a mere 6 hours later at the age of 90.
5. The Declaration of Independence wasn’t actually signed on July 4th, 1776. Well, it was only signed by one of the founding fathers, John Hancock. It wasn’t until August 2nd that all 56 delegates had signed the document and made the declaration official.
Let’s get out there and show ’em what America is all about!
Until next time, cheers!