​July 4th: More to celebrate than just America's birth

Amor Hampton, 8, dressed as the Statue of Liberty, takes part in the 4th of July parade in San Gabriel, Calif., on July 4, 2014. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

So here we are on another July 4th weekend. We all know why we celebrate the Fourth -- it is our nation's birthday, the day the founders signed the Declaration of Independence.

But that's just the beginning of what happened on the Fourth.


Three of our first five presidents -- Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Monroe -- died on July 4th, Jefferson and Adams within hours of one another in 1826.

Our 30th president, Calvin Coolidge, was born on the Fourth.

West Point opened on July 4th, 1802.

The Louisiana Purchase -- the acquisition from France of 800,000 square miles of land that now includes all or parts of 14 states west of the Mississippi -- was announced to the American people on July 4th, 1803.

The cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid on Independence Day, 1848.

More than 150 years later, the cornerstone of the Freedom Tower was laid at the World Trade Center site on July 4th.

Lyndon Johnson chose July 4th, 1966, to sign the Freedom of Information Act into law.

Though overshadowed by the Fourth, this whole weekend is one for anniversaries and birthdays. Yesterday marked the anniversary of Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the bill creating the National Labor Relations board in 1937.

And today is the birthday of Nancy Reagan and George W. Bush.

If all goes as it usually does, this weekend Americans will have celebrated all or some of the above by eating 155 million hot dogs.

  • Bob Schieffer On Twitter»

    Bob Schieffer is CBS News' chief Washington correspondent and anchor of Face the Nation.

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