You are gearing up for a July 4th with family and friends. In addition to showing off your prowess at the grill or in the kitchen, impress your guests with this Independence Day trivia.
1. Original Independence Day The origins of American July 4th celebrations started in 1776 when the formerly British citizens declared their independence from England with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. July 4th does not celebrate the adoption of the Constitution. That came into being 11 years later on September 17 of 1787. The Constitution was not ratified by all the states until the following year.
2. Flag Etiquette: Clothing Having pictures of the American flag as a part of your Independence Day celebration is perfectly fine. Having American flags throughout the fabric is also fine. It becomes a breach of American flag etiquette when you use an actual American flag to create a part of your wardrobe. Cutting holes in a flag is extremely disrespectful and using a flag for any other purpose is not following proper flag etiquette. Spend a few extra bucks and buy yourself a patriotic t-shirt instead of defacing our country's flag.
3. First American Flag You may have heard that Betsy Ross designed and sewed the first American flag, complete with thirteen stars and stripes. However, the only evidence that she did so was the oral family tradition that her grandson wrote down and presented to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania 34 years after her death. There are no records in 1776 that the Continental Congress formed a committee to design a flag. The first record of a flag committee being formed was not until 1777. It is unknown as to who sewed the first flag, but the designer was most likely Francis Hopkinson, who also designed the national seal.
4. Flag Etiquette: Disposal Although no one wants to have to think about disposing of an American flag, sometimes it becomes necessary. A tattered flag needs to be replaced, and the old flag should be properly disposed of. Flags that touch the ground and become damaged beyond repair should also be disposed of. A proper disposal does not include a trashcan. The proper disposal can actually be quite puzzling if you are not familiar with it. The proper way to dispose of a compromised American flag is to burn it. As counterintuitive as it sounds, that is how it should be done.
5. The Pledge of Allegiance Did you know that the Pledge of Allegiance has less than 100 years that it was adopted? Although it was originally written by Francis Bellamy in 1892, Congress did not officially recognize it until 50 years later in 1942. The title Pledge of Allegiance was adopted 3 years after that in 1945. Bellamy's original version of the Pledge did not include the words "under God." That phrase was not added to the Pledge until 1954. "Under God" was added after a joint resolution was passed through congress and signed into law by Dwight D. Eisenhower.
6. The National Anthem The "Star Spangled Banner" was written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812 against the British. Washington DC had just been burned down in 1814. He was on a mission to do a prisoner exchange with the British when he witnessed by British attack on Fort Covington. The Fort did not fall, and neither did the American flag donned with 15 stars and stripes. Interestingly, the American national anthem is the only one in the world that sings about a country's flag rather than about the country itself.