FROM WIKIPEDIA COMMONS
The national flag of the United States of America, often referred to as the American flag or the U.S. flag, consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton (referred to specifically as the “union”) bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows, where rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternate with rows of five stars. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 U.S. states, and the 13 stripes represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and became the first states in the U.S. Nicknames for the flag include the Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, and the Star-Spangled Banner.
The Fourth of July commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by delegates from the 13 colonies in 1776. The Declaration of Independence is America’s revolutionary Charter of Freedom and the document upon which the nation’s founding principles were established.
The Second Continental Congress actually made its decree for freedom on July 2, 1776, signing the Lee Resolution. Two days later, on July 4, Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence and the alarm for freedom was sounded at Independence Hall with the Liberty Bell. It was on August 4, 1776, after delegates of the Continental Congress had signed the document, that The Declaration of Independence was made official.
John Adams’ famous letters to his wife, Abigail, on the 3rd of July, 1776, capture the spirit of the time. Writing from Philadelphia, he said, Yesterday the greatest Question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater perhaps, never was or will be decided among Men. A Resolution was passed without one dissenting Colony “that these united Colonies, are, and of right ought to be free and independent States, and as such, they have, and of Right ought to have full Power to make War, conclude Peace, establish Commerce, and to do all the other Acts and Things, which other States may rightfully do.”
“I am apt to believe (this day) will be celebrated by succeeding generations, as the great Anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp, shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward forever.”
Let us end this brief history of Independence Day (U.S.) with text from The Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
We invite you to read a transcription of the complete text of the Declaration at www.archives.gov .”
Question of the Day
Why is the name “John Hancock” synonymous with “your signature”?
Hancock’s bold signature on the Declaration of Independence dwarfed the signatures of the other signers. Legend says that Hancock wanted the king of England to see the rebellious signature without having to wear his spectacles!
Advice of the Day
Lean liberty is better than fat slavery.
Home Hint of the Day
The potassium in wood ashes encourages strong stems in plants, and the phosphorus encourages root growth. Spread over root crops such as carrots and beets, wood ashes discourage root maggots. Spread over vegetables, they deter slugs.
Word of the Day
Named for the Roman god of war, Mars. This was the time of year to resume military campaigns that had been interrupted by winter.
Puzzle of the Day
A food item and a vessel.(Use these clues to find the two words that, when combined, form the name of a flower.)
- Nathaniel Hawthorne (author) – 1804
- Stephen Foster (composer) – 1826
- Henrietta Swan Leavitt (astronomer) – 1868
- Calvin Coolidge (30th U.S. president) – 1872
- Reuben Goldberg (cartoonist) – 1883
- Pauline Friedman Phillips, pen name Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby advice columnist; twin sister of Ask Ann Landers columnist Esther Friedman Lederer) – 1918
- Esther Friedman Lederer, pen name Ann Landers (Ask Ann Landers advice columnist; twin sister of Pauline Friedman Phillips, the Dear Abby columnist whose pen name was Abigail Van Buren) – 1918
- Neil Simon (playwright) – 1927
- George Steinbrenner (owner of the New York Yankees) – 1930
- Geraldo Rivera (journalist) – 1943
- Thomas Jefferson (3rd U.S. president) – 1826
- John Adams (2nd U.S. president) – 1826
- James Monroe (5th U.S. president) – 1831
- Eva Gabor (actress) – 1995
- Benjamin Davis, Jr. (leader of the Tuskegee Airmen and the first African American general in the Air Force) – 2002
- Barry White (singer) – 2003
- Steve McNair (football player) – 2009
- In Philadelphia, PA, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence and formed the United States of America– 1776
- USS Ranger flew a U.S. flag made from gowns– 1777
- Construction of the Erie Canal began in Rome, New York– 1817
- Construction of Erie Canal began– 1817
- The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad began; it was the first public railroad in the U.S.– 1828
- Henry David Thoreau started his sojourn in the woods at Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts– 1845
- Poet Walt Whitman published the first edition of Leaves of Grass– 1855
- Lewis Caroll first told Alice Liddell the story of Alice in Wonderland– 1862
- The Confederates surrendered to Union forces at Vicksburg, Mississippi giving the Union control of the Mississippi River– 1863
- Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published– 1865
- Alice Lidell received the first copy of Alice in Wonderland– 1865
- The Statue of Liberty formally presented to the U.S. by France– 1884
- The New 50-star flag is flown for the first time– 1960
- 15-pound 3-ounce American lobster caught, New Jersey– 2003
- Thomas Jefferson noted in his “Weather Memorandum Book” that the weather was cloudy, the temperature 76 degrees F– 1776
- Tornadoes hit Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland, causing minor damage– 1874
- 103 degrees F, Portland, Maine– 1911
- 106 degrees F in Nashua, New Hampshire– 1911