Reece Gardner: Some interesting facts about the Fourth of July

Reece Gardner: Some interesting facts about the Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July!

I would like to share some interesting facts about July 4th, some of which are not that widely known, along with some historical happenings related to it. Many in this area and beyond are in a celebratory spirit, with cookouts, fireworks and patriotic gatherings and it is fitting we enthusiastically celebrate this occasion.

Here are some facts about this momentous day:

  • Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on a writing desk. He changed the wording of the Declaration from "The pursuit of property" to the "pursuit of happiness”

  • 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 Declaration was a justification for a revolt against the British

  • Several countries — among them France, Greece, and Poland — have used the Declaration of Independence as a beacon of their own struggles for freedom

  • "Yankee Doodle," a popular American patriotic song, was originally sung by British military officers in mockery of what they considered the unorganized and buckskin-wearing "Yankees"

  • The "Star Spangled Banner" was written by Francis Scott Key and was originally a poem stemming from his observation in 1814 concerning the British attack on Baltimore's Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. It was later put to music and was decreed the official National Anthem in 1932

  • Three U.S. presidents have died on July 4 — Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Monroe — and America's 30th president, Calvin Coolidge, was born July 4, 1872

  • The average age of those who signed the Declaration of Independence was 45. The youngest, Thomas Lynch Jr., of South Carolina, was 27; the oldest was Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, age 70

  • In 1954 the words "Under God" were added to the Pledge of Allegiance

  • The oldest continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States is the 4th of July parade in Bristol, R.I. It began in 1785.

These are just a few of the historical "happenings" that have occurred in the United States, starting in 1776 and continuing to this day. I think the message here for all of us is the freedom we enjoy in this country was brought about by great service and sacrifice on the part of many and it is essential that all of us be vigilant in its protection.

Motivation obviously played a large part in the hearts and minds of those heroes of the past who were determined, often against fierce odds, to obtain and retain a government which is "of, for and by the people."

I will now close with a little humorous example of the power of motivation: A man was walking home late one night and decided to take a shortcut across a graveyard.

He had no idea a grave had been dug that afternoon in preparation for a funeral the following morning and he fell into the grave. Immediately, he began tugging at the sides of the grave, which didn't help, and then he began screaming, "Get me out of here! Please get me out of here!"

Finally he resigned himself to the fact no one was likely to hear him and he would just have to wait until morning to get relief, so he just sat down in a corner of the grave.

Shortly thereafter, a young man was coming home from a date and decided to take a shortcut across the graveyard. He too fell into the grave, and immediately started shouting for someone to help him. He had no idea the man was seated in the corner of the grave.

As he paused from shouting, the man in the corner said, rather eerily, "You can't get out."

But he did — because he was motivated!

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Happenings around town for the holiday weekend

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STEM 4 All coming to Jack Rountree

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