Here's Some Other Stuff That Happened on July 4

Sailors enjoy fireworks during the 42nd annual Yokosuka Friendship Day celebration onboard U.S. Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka. (U.S. Navy/Garrett Zopfi)

For Americans July 4 means plotting ways to stay out of the Emergency Room while still while still managing to blow up as much stuff possible in celebration of our fine freedoms.

But it's not all fun and independence in July 4 land. There's been a lot of these days over the history of our time. Those other American anniversaries get crowded out by our flags and freedom, but July 4, it would seem, is like a magnet for big deal events.

So what else happened on this celebratory day?

Over at Mental Floss they drummed up a few interesting occurrences.

  • John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died just hours apart in 1826. Adams' last words were, supposedly, "Thomas Jefferson survives" not knowing that Jefferson had died a few hours earlier. Five years later, another former President, James Monroe, died. July 4 is a bad day for former Presidents. Someone please help us form a protective circle around the elderly ones we still have.
  • George Steinbrenner was born on July 4, 1930.
  • Lou Gehrig gave his famous retirement speech in 1939 at Yankee Stadium after being diagnosed with ALS. "I feel, feel, feel, the luckiest, on the face of the earth, earth, earth..."

It's not all births, death and retirements

Over at onthisday, they've got even more.

  • The Louisiana Purchase was announced in 1803, adding about 828,000 square miles to the Union, including the entirety of what is now Kansas. No big deal.
  • The chain-reaction design for the atomic bomb created by Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard received its patent in 1934.
  • Speaking of things that go boom, North Korea tested its first successful intercontinental ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan on July 4, 2017.

But wait! There's more!

Thepeoplehistory has a lot of information on things that don't center around the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

  • Food and supply rationing in the United Kingdom, which kicked-off during World War II finally ended in 1954 after 14 years running.
  • The West Point Military Academy officially opened under its current name in 1802. It was previously known as the U.S. Corps of Engineers training school. Catchy, right?
  • A deadly heat wave killed 380 people in New York and Philadelphia in 1911, and temperatures reached 106 degrees in Nashua, New Hampshire.
  • After 48 years of U.S. sovereignty, the Philippines became a self-governing nation in 1946.
  • The U.S. flag got its 49th and 50th stars for Alaska and Hawaii in 1959 and 1960, respectively.

So, while you're focusing on the whole "we're free from tyranny" theme, light some fireworks and remember some of this other stuff, too. Happy 4th!

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