The Men Behind The Nation's Birth
It was 242 years ago when 56 men, the fathers of our nation, drafted the Declaration of Independence. The exact date is heavily debated as news traveled slow back then. General Washington wasn't aware of the Declaration until a week after it was signed. Our British friends in London didn't receive word there was a rebellion until the end of August. One thing is certain. Early July marks the birth of the United States of America. There were no states, just 13 colonies breaking away from the largest empire the world had ever seen.

The most memorable founding fathers were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, and of course Benjamin Franklin. Almost all the founding fathers were educated, wealthy men of status, and native-born colonists. Their stories you know.

But eight of the 56 were born in other British territories. James Smith, George Taylor, and Matthew Thornton were all born in Ireland. John Witherspoon and James Wilson hailed from Scotland. Francis Lewis was from Wales. Ironically enough, Button Gwinnett and Robert Morris, both born in Britain, believed in a free United States of America.

Of all 56, only one recanted his signature. Richard Stockton was captured and jailed by British troops. He withdrew his signature and swore allegiance to King George III after weeks of torture. While Stockton was imprisoned, General Cornwallis occupied and plundered his belongings, crops, livestock, and burned down his library. After being freed in 1777, he returned to his destroyed home in New Jersey, resigned from Congress, reopened his law practice, and promised not to help in the war. Stockton would die in the winter of 1781, two years before the end of the war.
The Myth Of The Bald Eagle And The Turkey
The bald eagle has been the National Animal, National Bird, and the symbol of freedom for the United States of America since June 20, 1782. It was chosen by a few of our founding fathers; Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. Many accounts of history tell a story of Franklin debating for the National Animal and Bird to be the turkey. However, that may be a myth.

In a letter to his daughter, Franklin explained that the bald eagle was a poor choice to represent the country since it was a bird of bad moral character and does not earn a living honestly. He mentions that the commissioned work for the seal doesn’t look like a bald eagle, but a turkey. Then he says how the turkey would be better suited as it is a bird of courage.

This is the only mention of a turkey, the National Seal, and National Animal found in any documents, according to historians. There is no evidence Franklin submitted the turkey as a potential candidate, only that he expressed his personal opinions to his daughter. The story has been exaggerated over the last 200 years and now is considered by many to be more fact than fiction. 

However, there may be some truth to the original story. Jefferson is said to have opposed Franklin's proposal of a turkey, leading us to believe that there was indeed a real discussion about it. Franklin folded, but was so infuriated with Jefferson's opposition that he started calling male turkeys "tom turkeys" to spite his friend. Male turkeys are still called that today.
Keeping History Safe During World War II
Tensions were high after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. It was the first attack on U.S. soil by a foreign nation since the war of 1812. Due to the fear of another attack, the original Declaration and the Constitution were removed from Washington D.C in 1941. They traveled by train, securely stored in separate containers with multiple locks, and sealed in larger boxes. The Secret Service guarded the boxes to Kentucky, where the 13th Armored Division escorted them to Fort Knox. They would remain there until 1944.
Everyone has a favorite movie for the Holidays, Halloween, and even New Year's. But if you're wanting to embrace the American spirit from the couch this Fourth of July, be sure to check out these great patriotic movies. Click the links for the trailers.

Americans are expected to spend over $6.9 billion on food, drinks, and other essentials this Fourth of July. That’s down from last year’s $7.1 billion.

Over $1.5 billion will be spent on beer and wine.

July 4th is America’s top beer-drinking holiday.

San Bernardino and Riverside are tied for the 5th highest average of beer and wine prices in the U.S. Seattle is number one.

Over 150 million hot dogs will be consumed for the 4th.

AAA says 47 million people are expected to travel this 4th.

Over $800 million is spent on fireworks.

Macy’s Fourth Of July Fireworks Spectacular is estimated to cost over $6 million.

15 million people tune in to watch the show, or about 3x the average Stanley Cup viewership.

Over 16,000 firework displays will be held this Fourth of July.

U.S. air quality decreases by 42% on July 4th because of fireworks.

The U.S. imports 95% of all its fireworks from China.

In 2013, the U.S. spent $4 million on importing American flags. $3.9 million of that was spent on flags made in China.

“In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.”

– John Adams


“I am persuaded however that he (John Adams) means well for his Country, is always an honest Man, often a Wise One, but sometimes and in some things, absolutely out of his Senses.”

– Benjamin Franklin


“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock."

– Thomas Jefferson


“Let me recommend the best medicine in the world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant country, in easy stages.”

– James Madison


“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.”

– George Washington