This Side Up

This Side Up: Happy birthday, USA

CorrespondentJuly 1, 2014 

Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Where liberty dwells, there is my country.”

In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation of the United States of America was 2.5 million. According to the U.S. and world population clock (, the nation’s estimated population in July 2013 was 316.2 million. I wonder if the nation’s founders imagined how how much it would grow in less than 240 years.

In 1870, Congress made Independence Day an official, unpaid holiday. In 1938, it was changed to a paid holiday.

Did you know two of our nation’s great symbols were made overseas? The Liberty Bell was made in England and the Statue of Liberty in France. To avoid cracking it more, the Liberty Bell has not been rung since 1846. To mark every July Fourth, the bell is tapped 13 times.

I found another interesting thing: Three U.S. presidents – John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe – all died on July Fourth. Adams and Jefferson died within hours of each other in 1826. Monroe died in 1831.

Americans celebrate this holiday like we do most holidays – in a big way. We consume about 155 million hot dogs. It is the biggest hot dog holiday of the year. We love professional fireworks displays, so almost 14,000 light up the skies that night.

But please remember, July 5 is the busiest day for animal shelters across the country. Many pets are spooked by crowds and fireworks, so they run away during the celebrations. Keep your pets indoors, and keep them safe,

Here’s to wishing a happy Independence Day to everyone.

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