Did you know that the Continental Congress actually declared independence on July 2, 1776?
So, why do we celebrate July 4th?
Well, as with anything created by committee, it took a few days after the actual declaration to get everyone to agree on the wording and edits, so the official document wasn’t finalized until a few days later. The original copy of the Declaration, on display at the National Archives in Washington, DC, is therefore dated July 4, 1776.
The document was also given to John Dunlap, a newspaper man of the time, on the evening of July 4, so his printing, a “broadside,” had that date, though it was distributed to the colonies on July 5.
Shockingly, both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on July 4, 1826, within hours of each other, and this may have helped the date become cemented in our collective memories.
It took almost 100 years for July 4th to become a national holiday. Congress didn’t declare it as such until 1870. Now this is the day we celebrate our freedom with fireworks, beach days, and picnics.
Of course, this is a seriously hot time of the year, so we would be remiss not to mention a few hot weather health tips.
- Everyone knows to stay hydrated, but if drinking water all day doesn’t appeal to you, make sure to eat plenty of fruits and veggies, including things like cucumbers and watermelon, which are mostly water.
- Heat can make your heart pump harder so if you have cardiovascular disease, be extra careful to stay cool.
- Certain medications, including some high blood pressure meds, can exacerbate the body’s reaction to hot weather. They might increase sensitivity to the sun or make a person more prone to dehydration.
- Older people need to be especially careful and should stay inside during peak sun hours of 10am to 4pm.
- And, while we are all at it, let's be kind to each other and check on elderly neighbors and pets, making sure everyone is cool and comfortable.
With proper precautions, we can all enjoy our summer celebrations