History of Independence Day fun facts

Today, July 4, 2020, is the day we celebrate America's 244th Independence Day.

In history, July 4, 1776, The Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence while meeting in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Statehouse, which is now Independence Hall. The Congress declares the American colonies free and independent states. John Hancock signed on July 4. The rest of The Congress sign on August 2, 1776.

Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston comprised the committee that drafted the Declaration. Jefferson, regarded as the most influential and most eloquent writer, actually wrote most of the document. The committee and Congress as a whole made a total of 86 changes to Jefferson's draft.

First two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence: "When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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 to 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."

Other July 4 facts:

 In 2019, the United States imported $319 million in fireworks.

According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, the Fourth of July is the most popular day for grilling.

Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest:

1916 - The Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest is held at the original Nathan's Famous at Coney Island. The winner eats the most hot dogs and buns within 10 minutes to win prize money and the Mustard Belt.

Joey Chestnut of San Jose, California, has won the title 11 times (2007-2014 and 2016-2018). He also holds the world record for eating 74 hot dogs.

2011 - For the first time, men and women compete separately.

2019 - Joey Chestnut and Miki Sudo defend their titles in the hot dog eating contest.

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The Gayly. July 4, 2020 @ 7:53 a.m. CST.