Star-Spangled All-American Birthdays

Big role in our nation’s independence

• Caesar Rodney is best remembered for his overnight horseback ride from Dover to Philadelphia to cast the deciding vote in the Continental Congress for the Declaration of Independence July 2, 1776. Rodney on horseback is on the Delaware quarter, issued in 1999.

John Adams’ vision of Independence Day

• John Adams described “pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations” throughout the United States when he described how he thought the 4th of July should be celebrated in a letter to his wife. However, the term “Independence Day” wasn’t used until 1791.

Philadelphia freedom

• Philadelphia hosted the first 4th of July celebration in 1777, a lot like Adams envisioned. To this day, celebrations in Philadelphia, Washington and Boston are among the largest in the country.

Born on the 4th of July

• President Calvin Coolidge was born in Plymouth, Vt., July 4, 1872, the only president with that birthday. Famous Americans born on the 4th: late New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, playwright Neil Simon, advice twins Ann Landers and sister Abigail Van Buren (better known as Dear Abby) and songwriter Stephen Foster.

Independence oddity

• Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, both signers of the Declaration of Independence and later president, died July 4, 1826 – exactly 50 years after the adoption of the Declaration. James Monroe, the fifth president, died July 4, 1831.

A matter of overindulgence

• The famous Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest has been held in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York since 1972. Joey Chestnut holds the current record, eating 69 hot dogs in 12 minutes in 2013.