While this is a day you probably know well and one that you anticipate with pleasure, there are probably a lot of fun facts about the nation's birthday that you aren't familiar with. So, as you wait for barbecues, fireworks and unabashed noshing on hot dogs, scroll down for 17 interesting facts about July 4. Who knows? You may even pick up a tidbit or two to share with your pals around the grill on the big day.
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• The Fourth of July was not declared a national holiday until 1941.
• Malia Obama, George Steinbrenner, Neil Simon, Ron Kovic and Calvin Coolidge were all born on the Fourth of July.
• These events occurred on the Fourth of July: Henry David Thoreau moved into his shack on Walden Pond (1845); the U.S. air offensive against Nazi, Germany, began (1942); Beach Boys' "I Get Around" reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts (1964); Lyndon Johnson signed the Freedom of Information Act (1966).
• The stars on the original American flag were in a circle so all the Colonies would appear equal.
• Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey as the national bird but was overruled by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who wanted the bald eagle.
• The musical "1776" premiered on Broadway in 1969 and ran for 1,217 performances. The production won three Tony Awards, including one for best musical.
• The number of Americans who will spend the holiday at other people's homes is approximately 41 million.
• The first official Fourth of July party was held at the White House in 1801.
• Approximately 150 million hot dogs are consumed on this day.
• The town of Patriot, Ind., has a population of 202 people.
• Presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe all died on the Fourth. Adams and Jefferson died on the same day within hours of each other in 1826.
• The percentage of American homes with an outdoor grill is 87 percent.
• The song "Yankee Doodle" was sung originally by British officers making fun of backwoods Americans.
• The amount of chicken purchased the week before the holiday is 700 million pounds.
• The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men from 13 colonies.
• In 1776, there were 2.5 million people living in the new nation. (Today there are 311 million.)
• There are more than 30 towns nationwide that have the word "Liberty" in their name