Quiz: Things you might not know about July 4

WASHINGTON — How well do you know your Independence Day trivia? Take our quiz.

Getting around D.C. may be a challenge on July 4. (PRNewsFoto/Capital Concerts)
Let’s start with a presidential section: Which U.S. president was born on the Fourth of July?

(PRNewsFoto/Capital Concerts)

President Calvin Coolidge, in office 1923 to 1929, is shown in an undated photo. Coolodge died in North Hampton, Mass. January 5, 1933, after declining to run for president in 1928. (AP Photo)
Calvin Coolidge, in 1872.

(AP Photo)

Fireworks explode over the Philadelphia Museum of Art during an Independence Day celebration in Philadelphia on Wednesday, July 4, 2007. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Have any U.S. presidents died on the Fourth of July?

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Portrait of 5th United States President James Monroe. (1817-1825) (Courtesy of the National Archives/Newsmakers)
Yes — remarkably, three of the first five: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both in 1826, and James Monroe (pictured above) in 1831.

(Courtesy of the National Archives/Newsmakers)

July 4, 2009
ÒPresident and Mrs. Obama were watching the Fourth of July fireworks from the roof of the White House. What a great vantage point to not only see the fireworks, but also watch the Foo Fighters who were performing on the South Lawn.Ó
(Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.
Special President-adjacent Bonus Question: What recent presidential child was born on the Fourth? (Hint: the photo above is a tipoff.)

(Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

Barack Obama, Malia Obama
Malia Obama, in 1998.

FILE - Spectators watch as fireworks explode overhead during the Fourth of July celebration at Pioneer Park, on July 4, 2013, in Prescott, Ariz. The skies over a scattering of Western cities will stay dark for the third consecutive Fourth of July in 2022 as some big fireworks displays are canceled again, this time for pandemic related supply chain or staffing problems, or fire concerns amid dry weather. The city of Phoenix cited supply chain issues in canceling its three major Independence Day fireworks shows. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)
So, July 4 was the day the colonies declared independence?

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

Spectators watch from the Queens borough of New York as fireworks are launched over the East River and the Empire State Building during the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks show, Sunday, July 4, 2021. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Nope. That was July 2. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

People ride the Sky Flyer at State Fair Meadowlands carnival as fireworks explode, Sunday, July 3, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
So, July 4 was when the Declaration of Independence was signed?

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

This undated engraving shows the scene on July 4, 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pa.  The document, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman, announces the separation of 13 North American British colonies from Great Britain.  The formal signing by 56 members of Congress began on Aug. 2.  (AP Photo)
Nope. It was Aug. 2, 1776, that most of the Continental Congress signed the “engrossed” (written out clearly on parchment) copy of the Declaration. Five people signed it even later than that. Two never signed it at all, including Robert Livingston, who was on the Committee of Five in charge of writing it. (The other was John Dickinson, who still thought a reconciliation with Britain could be worked out.)

(AP Photo)

Spectators watch from the Queens borough of New York as fireworks are launched over the East River and the Empire State Building during the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks show, Sunday, July 4, 2021. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
So, wait — should we be celebrating July 2 instead?

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Fireworks explode over the New York City skyline during Macy's 4th of July fireworks display, late Sunday, July 4, 2021, as seen from Jersey City, N.J. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)
John Adams thought so. July 2 “ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade with shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this continent to the other from this Time forward forever more,” Adams wrote.

(Shews? Never mind.)

But Adams didn’t reckon with the editing process – or the printer. It took two days for the Congress to decide on final language for the Declaration and send it off. So the Declaration says “IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776” at the top, and there you go.

Just goes to shew you.

(AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: Fireworks light up the sky over the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and the U.S. Capitol on July 4, 2012 in Washington, DC. July 4th is a national holiday with the nation celebrating its 237th birthday. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Are there places besides the U.S. that celebrate the Fourth?

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

People participate in the Danish-American Rebild Celebration in Rebild, Denmark, Thursday July 4, 2013. The Rebild organization celebrates American Independence Day each year, and Danes in American still make the trip back to the old country to participate in the festival. (AP Photo/Polfoto, Rene Schutze) DENMARK OUT
You’ll probably find an impromptu Independence Day celebration anyplace you have a few Americans gathered together, but in Denmark they do it for real.

The Rebildfesten has been held since 1912 at Rebild National Park. Inspired by a migration of Danes to the U.S., the festival celebrates “freedom, friendship and unity between Denmark and the United States.” Thousands of people come – Danish, Danish-Americans, American expats and U.S. military members stationed in Europe. Here’s the website for this year’s fest — and the Queen is gonna be there!

(AP Photo/Polfoto, Rene Schutze)

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04:  Fireworks light up the sky over the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and the U.S. Capitol on July 4, 2013 in Washington, DC. July 4th is a national holiday with the nation celebrating its 238th birthday.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Does anyplace in the U.S. not celebrate the Fourth of July?

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

A bus load of visitors pull up to the Illinois Memorial at the Vicksburg National Military Park in Vicksburg, Miss., Wednesday, May 22, 2013. Even 150 years later, Vicksburg is still overshadowed by Gettysburg _ so much so, that the Mississippi city is having its Civil War commemoration a few weeks early rather than compete with Pennsylvania for tourist dollars around July 4. History buffs are traveling to battlegrounds to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War from 2011 to 2015. Union forces waged a long campaign to conquer Vicksburg and gain control of the lower Mississippi River. The effort culminated in a concentrated military attack that started May 18, 1863, and a siege that started eight days later. Confederate forces surrendered the city on July 4. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Not quite, but in Vicksburg, Mississippi, it was complicated for a long time. During the Civil War, Vicksburg fell to Union forces after a 47-day siege. About 9,000 Confederate troops and 18 civilians were killed, and the Union Army encircled the city, trying to starve the civilians out. The Confederates surrendered on July 4, 1863, and the people of the town didn’t think much of the holiday for quite a long time.

How long, exactly? It’s hard to say. Many say they didn’t pick up the celebration again until 1945, in a burst of patriotism in the dwindling days of World War II.

Other sources say they began celebrating again in 1907; the Dead Confederates Civil War blog quotes the Vicksburg Daily Commercial as saying there was a celebration in 1877, though it doesn’t sound like a particularly inspired one.

On the other hand, it may not be surprising to learn that when The New York Times asked around Vicksburg in 2013, several of the town’s Black residents said that the Fourth was in fact considered a day particularly worthy of celebrating in their community.

But as late as 1997, The Dallas Morning News reported, a woman made a show of flipping through the pages of the official city calendar to check for July 4 events and sniffed, “Nothing. Not anything special. Nothing special going in Vicksburg.”

Hooo-kay.

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Spectators watch Fourth of July fireworks at Ault Park, Monday, July 4, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
One of the country’s iconic structures is also a Fourth of July present. Which is it?

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The sun rises behind the Statue of Liberty a day before the United States celebrates its independence, Sunday, July 3, 2016, in Jersey City, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
The Statue of Liberty was completed in France July 4, 1884, and presented to the U.S. minister.

One problem – it still had to get over to the U.S., and we weren’t ready for it.

We had one job – build the pedestal. But the money ran out and work stopped. The statue was disassembled and shipped to the States in pieces, according to plan, but it sat in storage for more than a year. The pedestal wasn’t completed until publisher Joseph Pulitzer started a fundraising campaign, and it was finally completed and opened up, fireworks and all, in late October 1886.

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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Getting around D.C. may be a challenge on July 4. (PRNewsFoto/Capital Concerts)
President Calvin Coolidge, in office 1923 to 1929, is shown in an undated photo. Coolodge died in North Hampton, Mass. January 5, 1933, after declining to run for president in 1928. (AP Photo)
Fireworks explode over the Philadelphia Museum of Art during an Independence Day celebration in Philadelphia on Wednesday, July 4, 2007. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Portrait of 5th United States President James Monroe. (1817-1825) (Courtesy of the National Archives/Newsmakers)
July 4, 2009
ÒPresident and Mrs. Obama were watching the Fourth of July fireworks from the roof of the White House. What a great vantage point to not only see the fireworks, but also watch the Foo Fighters who were performing on the South Lawn.Ó
(Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.
Barack Obama, Malia Obama
FILE - Spectators watch as fireworks explode overhead during the Fourth of July celebration at Pioneer Park, on July 4, 2013, in Prescott, Ariz. The skies over a scattering of Western cities will stay dark for the third consecutive Fourth of July in 2022 as some big fireworks displays are canceled again, this time for pandemic related supply chain or staffing problems, or fire concerns amid dry weather. The city of Phoenix cited supply chain issues in canceling its three major Independence Day fireworks shows. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)
Spectators watch from the Queens borough of New York as fireworks are launched over the East River and the Empire State Building during the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks show, Sunday, July 4, 2021. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
People ride the Sky Flyer at State Fair Meadowlands carnival as fireworks explode, Sunday, July 3, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
This undated engraving shows the scene on July 4, 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pa.  The document, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman, announces the separation of 13 North American British colonies from Great Britain.  The formal signing by 56 members of Congress began on Aug. 2.  (AP Photo)
Spectators watch from the Queens borough of New York as fireworks are launched over the East River and the Empire State Building during the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks show, Sunday, July 4, 2021. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Fireworks explode over the New York City skyline during Macy's 4th of July fireworks display, late Sunday, July 4, 2021, as seen from Jersey City, N.J. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: Fireworks light up the sky over the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and the U.S. Capitol on July 4, 2012 in Washington, DC. July 4th is a national holiday with the nation celebrating its 237th birthday. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
People participate in the Danish-American Rebild Celebration in Rebild, Denmark, Thursday July 4, 2013. The Rebild organization celebrates American Independence Day each year, and Danes in American still make the trip back to the old country to participate in the festival. (AP Photo/Polfoto, Rene Schutze) DENMARK OUT
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04:  Fireworks light up the sky over the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and the U.S. Capitol on July 4, 2013 in Washington, DC. July 4th is a national holiday with the nation celebrating its 238th birthday.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
A bus load of visitors pull up to the Illinois Memorial at the Vicksburg National Military Park in Vicksburg, Miss., Wednesday, May 22, 2013. Even 150 years later, Vicksburg is still overshadowed by Gettysburg _ so much so, that the Mississippi city is having its Civil War commemoration a few weeks early rather than compete with Pennsylvania for tourist dollars around July 4. History buffs are traveling to battlegrounds to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War from 2011 to 2015. Union forces waged a long campaign to conquer Vicksburg and gain control of the lower Mississippi River. The effort culminated in a concentrated military attack that started May 18, 1863, and a siege that started eight days later. Confederate forces surrendered the city on July 4. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Spectators watch Fourth of July fireworks at Ault Park, Monday, July 4, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
The sun rises behind the Statue of Liberty a day before the United States celebrates its independence, Sunday, July 3, 2016, in Jersey City, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Scheduled events, road closures around the Mall
Getting around on July 4
Best area events
Ways to stay safe with fireworks
More Fourth of July News


Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2012 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He went to George Washington University as an undergraduate and is regularly surprised at the changes to the city since that faraway time.


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