Looking Back 1 July 2012

Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or mary.braswell@albanyherald.com.

The week of the 4th of July is here, a time of great celebration. Here is a look back at a variety of things associated with the holiday...and more.


• In 2011, the value of U.S. imports of American flags was $3.6 million. The vast majority of the flags were made in China.

• The dollar value of American flags exported in 2011 was $663,071. Mexico was the leading customer.

• A vexillologist is an expert in the history of flags.

• The only time it is appropriate to fly the American flag upside down is in a dire emergency. It means “Help me! I am in trouble and need immediate assistance.”

• On Sept. 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It became America’s official national anthem in 1931.

• The proper place to wear an American flag pin is on the left pocket or as close to the heart as possible.

• Pennsylvania is the only state that observes Flag Day as an official holiday.

• There have been 27 official U.S. flags throughout the nation’s history.


• Cherry Bombs became illegal in the U.S. in 1966.

• Copper carbonate produces a blue (or blue-green) color flame when used in fireworks.

• The first Chinese multi-shot aerial repeaters to be imported into the United States were the Flying Dragon and the Jumping Tiger.

• HDPE (high density polyethylene) is the best plastic for making mortars (launching tubes) for fireworks shells. HDPE will shred into relatively harmless strips that tend to stay attached.


• In July 1776, there were an estimated 2.5 million people living in the newly independent nation. As of June 27, 2012 that number was 313,828,220 with an estimated gain of one person every 13 seconds.

• Contrary to the famous poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, there is no evidence that Paul Revere ever shouted the words “The British are coming.”

• The Americans of 1776 had the highest standard of living and the lowest taxes in the Western world.

• George Washington took command of the Continental Army of about 17,000 men on July 3, 1775. Washington never received any pay for his service.

• Georgia signers of the Declaration of Independence were Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall and George Walton.

• The second president of the United States, John Adams, and the third president, Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826. James Monroe, the fifth president, died on July 4, 1831.


• There are four cardinal points (north, south, east and west), four seasons, four parts of a day and four phases of the moon.

• A four-leaf clover is believed to bring luck to the finder. The leaves symbolize hope, faith, love and luck.

• Tetraphobia is the fear of the No. 4.

• Johannes Brahms completed four numbered symphonies.

• The Fantastic Four are Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, The Human Torch and The Thing.


• Composer Stephen Foster (1826-64)

• The 30th president of the United States, Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933).

• “Sing along with” Mitch Miller (1911-2010).

• Twins and advice columnists Abigail Van Buren (1918) and Ann Landers (1918-2002).

• Actress Gina Lollobrigida (1927).

• Owner of the New York Yankees, George Steinbrenner (1930-2010).

• TV reporter Geraldo Rivera (1943).

• Malia Obama, oldest daughter of President Barack Obama (1998).


• Nine places have “freedom” in their names. The most populous one is New Freedom, Pennsylvania with a population of 4,464.

• Thirty-five places have “eagle” in their names. The most populous one is Eagle Pass, Texas, with a population of 26,248.

• One location in America has “patriot” in its name. Patriot, Ind., has a population of 209.

• Thirty-one places have “liberty” in their names. Iowa, with four, has more of these places than any other state with Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty and West Liberty.


“There, I guess King George will be able to read that.” — John Hancock (on signing the American Declaration of Independence)

“America is much more than a geographical fact. It is a political and moral fact - the first community in which men set out in principle to institutionalize freedom, responsible government, and human equality.” — Adlai Stevenson

“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

“There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.” — Bill Clinton

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” — Erma Bombeck

“This, then, is the state of the union: free and restless, growing and full of hope. So it was in the beginning. So it shall always be, while God is willing, and we are strong enough to keep the faith.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776