BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — The Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) wishes all of its member institutions, student-athletes, coaches, fans and alumni a happy and safe Independence Day/4th of July.
A few facts about the recognized birthday of the United States:
- July 4, 2020 marks the 102nd anniversary of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America”. According to the Library of Congress, Berlin wrote “God Bless America” as a “peace song” in response to the “fascism and war threaten[ing] Europe” in 1938. “God Bless America” debuted on Nov. 10, 1938, to commemorate Armistice Day, and the revenues for the song went to the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts of America. The New York Times reported that the song was originally conceived by Berlin for a soldier show as a fundraiser, when he was an Army private at Camp Upton in Yaphank, N.Y., in February 1918. He rediscovered the song two decades later and gave a revised version to the radio star Kate Smith, who sang it weekly.
- July 4th marks the day the Continental Congress declared that the 13 American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire. The Congress actually voted to declare independence two days earlier, on July 2.
- During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the 13 Colonies from Great Britain in 1776 actually occurred on July 2, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declaring the United States independent from Great Britain’s rule.
- After ratifying the text on July 4, Congress issued the Declaration of Independence in several forms. It was initially published as the printed Dunlap broadside that was widely distributed and read to the public. The source copy used for this printing has been lost and may have been a copy in Thomas Jefferson’s hand. Jefferson’s original draft is preserved at the Library of Congress, complete with changes made by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, as well as Jefferson’s notes of changes made by Congress. The best-known version of the Declaration is a signed copy that is displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and which is popularly regarded as the official document. This engrossed copy was ordered by Congress on July 19 and signed primarily on August 2.
- Historians have long disputed whether members of Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, even though Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin all later wrote that they had signed it on that day. Most historians have concluded that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed.
- The Syng inkstand used at the signing was also used at the signing of the United States Constitution in 1787.
- Coincidentally, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, James Monroe, another Founding Father who was elected as President, also died on July 4, 1831. He was the third President who died on the anniversary of independence. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872; so far he is the only U.S. President to have been born on Independence Day.
- In 1870, the U.S. Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees. In 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday.
- In 1781, the Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration
- Held since 1785, the Bristol Fourth of July Parade in Bristol, Rhode Island, is the oldest continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States.
- The Philippines celebrates July 4 as its Republic Day to commemorate that day in 1946 when it ceased to be a U.S. territory and the United States officially recognized Philippine Independence. July 4 was intentionally chosen by the United States because it corresponds to its Independence Day, and this day was observed in the Philippines as Independence Day until 1962. In 1964, the name of the July 4 holiday was changed to Republic Day. Rebild National Park in Denmark is said to hold the largest July 4 celebrations outside of the United States.