Tuesday, July 4th, we will celebrate our independence.  Many of us have already begun a four-day, or even a five-day, weekend.  Consequently, I thought it might be an appropriate time to test your knowledge of the holiday with a quiz. No peeking at the internet.
1.  The primary author of the Declaration of Independence was
a.  George Washington
b.  Henry Lee
c.  Benjamin Franklyn
d.  Thomas Jefferson
2.  The oldest continuous Independence Day celebration is in what city?
a.  Bristol, RI
b.  New York, NY
c.  Waterbury, CT
d.  Philadelphia, PA
3.  The origin of the song, “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” was
a.  American troops during the Revolutionary War
b.  French troops during the RW
c.  British military before the RW
d.  Hessians at the battle of Trenton, NJ
4.  The movie, “Independence Day” starred
a.  Tom Cruise
b.  Will Smith
c.  Morgan Freeman
d.  Daniel Day-Lewis
5.  The first person to sign the Declaration of Independence (and the only one to do so on July 4) was
a.  Thomas Jefferson
b.  Patrick Henry
c   Benjamin Franklyn
d.  John Hancock
6.  Each of the following was a member of the Committee of Five (assigned to draft the Declaration), except:
a.  George Washington
b.  Roger Sherman
c.  John Adams
d.  Benjamin Franklyn
7.  Which President was born on the 4th of July?
a.  John Adams
b.  Grover Cleveland
c.  Calvin Coolidge
d.  James Polk
8.  Each of the following Presidents died on July 4th, except:
a.  John Adams
b.  Thomas Jefferson
c.  James Monroe
d.  James Madison
9.  The “Liberty Bell” was cast in:
a.  France
b.  England
c.  Germany
d.  Russia
10.  The “Star Spangled banner” was written by Francis Scott Key during which war?
a.  French and Indian War
b.  American Revolution
c.  Civil War
d.  War of 1812
11.  The origin of the nick-name “Uncle Sam” is purportedly:
a.  The Continental Congress
b.  The Sons of Liberty
c.  Meat packer who supplied meat to the US Army
d.  British troops during the RW
12. Who, along with John Adams, is responsible for designating the bald eagle as the US’s National Bird?
a.  George Washington
b.  Thomas Jefferson
c.  Benjamin Franklyn
d.  Patrick Henry
13.  Which state was the last of the “lower 48” to join the Union?
a.  New Mexico
b.  Oregon
c.  Hawaii
d.  Arizona
14.  How many persons signed the Declaration of Independence?
a.  13
b.  26
c.  40
d.  56
15.  Each of the following celebrities was born on July 4th, except:
a.  Mike (the “Situation”) Sorrentino
b.  Neil Simon
c.  Colin Powell
d.  George Steinbrenner
16. Purportedly, the Nathans Hot Dog Eating Contest was first held in
a.  1876
b.  1930
c.  1945
d.  1916
17.  Who was one of only two signers of the Declaration of Independence to be elected President?
a.  John Adams
b.  Andrew Jackson
c.  Alexander Hamilton
d.  Aaron Burr
18. Although July 4 is recognized as Independence Day, the Continental Congress approved a “resolution of independence” on this date.
a. June 15
b. July 1
c. July 2
d. July 3
19. Washington, DC became the capital in
a.  1776
b.  1800
c.  1820
d.  1920
20.  The 14th state of the union was:
a.  Maine
b.  Georgia
c.  Florida
d.  Vermont
ANSWERS:  1. (d); 2. (a); 3. (c); 4. (b); 5. (d); 6. (a); 7. (c); 8. (d); 9. (b); 10. (d); 11. (c); 12. (b); 13. (d); 14. (d); 15. (c); 16. (d); 17. (a); 18. (c); 19. (b); 20. (d)
Well, how did you do?  I’d like to know.

Now, some Independence Day-related trivia with which you can impress your friends:

  1.  On July 4, 1777, the city of Bristol, RI celebrated the first anniversary of ID with a thirteen-gun salute.
  2. In 1778, to mark the second anniversary, George Washington issued double rations of rum to the Continental Army troops.
  3. By the end of the 18th century many major cities were marking the day with various celebrations and parades.  Today, many major cities hold massive and elaborate fireworks displays.  In addition, many private organizations, for example, Macys, the Boston Pops, and many major league baseball clubs, entertain the public with fireworks displays.  Sadly, many private citizens, who are not properly trained, set off their own fireworks, sometimes with unfortunate results.  Every year we read or hear about some tragic accidents involving loss of limbs or even death.  Remember the case of NY Giants defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul a few years ago.  He lost part of few fingers (and nearly his life) and almost ended a most promising football career.
  4. In 1870 Congress designated ID as a federal holiday.  In 1938 it granted federal employees a day off with pay on that day.
  5. With respect to the “Star-Spangled Banner:

a.  It was composed by Francis Scott Key from a British prisoner ship in Baltimore Harbor during the War of 1812.  (Key was not a prisoner, himself.  He was on the ship to negotiate the release of a prisoner.)

b.  He wrote it as a poem named “The Defence of Fort McHenry.”  Later, it was set to a tune, which, ironically, is an English drinking song, with the strange name of “To Anacreon in Heaven.”  In case you’re wondering the song was the official song of a gentlemen’s club in 18th century London.

c.  Key wrote four verses and a fifth verse was added later, but, of course, we only sing the first.  Does anyone know the words of the others?  I do, but it’s too long to repeat here.  But, I will say that all five verses end with “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

d.  In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson declared that it should be played at all official  events.

e.  The “Star-Spangled Banner” became the national anthem in 1931.

So, enjoy yourself on the 4th, but, above all, be safe.  If you travel, drive safely and defensively, and if you handles fireworks, BE VERY CAREFUL!




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