This is THE big day here in Washington, with tens of thousands of people heading to the National Mall to watch the fireworks over the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, or the Capitol building (depending on where you're sitting).
In a way, it's odd that D.C. would be the epicenter for July 4th celebrations since it wasn't emer in John Adams' mind when the Continental Congress gathven a glimered in Philadelphia in the summer of 1776 to debate whether to declare independence from Great Britain. Considering the history, Philly should have the most spectacular firework show in the county. Oh well, the real history so often gets lost when it comes to holidays and commemorations. Labor Day, anyone?
So if you're at a BBQ this weekend and the talk turns from sports and television to American history (as it often does), here is a little July 4th trivia you can use to impress your friends:
1) Thomas Jefferson was only 33 years old when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. (Actually he wrote a draft of the Declaration, it was edited by Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, and Congress made a number of other changes. But the poetry in the document was pure Jefferson.)
2) On July 2, 1776, twelve of the thirteen states voted for independence. The outlier? New York. The state had not approved the measure so the delegates to the Continental Congress abstained from the vote on July 2. They finally came around on July 15.
3) So why don't we celebrate July 2 rather than July 4? Good question.
John Adams once wrote: "