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Enjoy Your July 4th Weekend and Check Out These Facts

As you may know, Independence Day is always celebrated on July 4th each year. In 2021, America will celebrate its 246th birthday as independence was achieved from Great Britain following the Revolutionary War as the founding fathers signed this declaration on July 4, 1776.

According to the Farmers Almanac, here’s a few Independence Day holiday facts you may not know.

  • Old Glory – The Flag: Did you know that there have been 28 versions of the U.S flag to date, and that the most recent one, designed after Alaska and Hawaii joined the union, was the result of a school project? Robert Heft was 17 when he came up with the flag design in 1958. He originally got a B- on the project, but when his pattern won the national competition to become the next flag, his teacher raised his grade to an A.
  • Three American presidents have died on the fourth of July. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on the same day, in 1826, just hours apart. They had been rivals in everything, even about who would live longest. Adams’ last words were about his long-time foe: “Thomas Jefferson lives!” In fact, Jefferson had died just five hours earlier, but Adams hadn’t gotten the message. The two actually became friends in their later years, with extensive correspondence. Their letters to each other are published in several books. James Monroe is the third president to die on July 4th, but he died in 1831.
  • Fireworks: The very earliest forms came from a discovery almost 2,000 years ago when people would heat bamboo stalks until they blackened and exploded under the pressure of heated air inside them. These would have been the original “firecrackers,” but true gunpowder-fueled explosives didn’t come till a bit later—sometime between 600 A.D. and 900 A.D. when alchemists in China started filling stalks of bamboo with the explosive substance. The first “rockets” were originally used as military weapons, starting with an improvement to the fire arrow that included affixing small packets of gunpowder to the arrow. These were produced by the Chinese in the 12th century, but they were very unpredictable and dangerous to use. It’s from the developments of gunpowder explosives and primitive rockets that the colorful explosives we know today came from. Over the years, alchemists started adding new ingredients to the mix, like iron shavings and steel dust, to give fireworks their sparkle.
  • The hottest Independence Days have all come from seven cities within the Southwest region and all have topped over 100°F. 2007: Needles, CA 121ºF; 2001: Palm Springs, CA 116ºF; 2007: Phoenix, AZ 116ºF; 2017: Needles, CA 117ºF; 2007: Thermal, CA 114ºF; 2007: Daggett, CA 114ºF; 2007: Las Vegas, NV 114ºF; 2017: Palm Springs, CA 115ºF; 2003: Thermal, CA 114ºF; and 2005: Blythe, CA 113ºF.
  • Corn Farmers Measuring Stick: “Knee High by the Fourth of July” is an old saying once used by farmers to measure the success of their corn crops. Years ago, if corn had grown knee high by Independence Day, it was a good sign and meant they could count on high yields for the year. Today, however, that sentiment is a bit different. Due to the advancements in agriculture, growing techniques, and disease and pest control, corn farmers can expect plants to reach 8 feet by midsummer, if growing conditions are good, according to the Iowa Corn Growers Association. Now, knee-high doesn’t quite measure up.

In the meantime, Annuity Alliance hopes you will enjoy the July 4th holiday weekend and remember the reasons for this special Independence Day event.