Now that we are all heading into a long holiday weekend for the 4th of July, let’s be grateful and keep a few things in mind…
July 4, 2021 will be America’s 245th Independence Day, the day Americans celebrate our Declaration of Independence from Great Britain.
Here are five facts we should remember about America’s founding document and the day set aside for its commemoration.
1. July 4, 1776 is the day that we celebrate Independence Day even though it wasn’t the day the Continental Congress decided to declare independence (they did that on July 2, 1776), the day we started the American Revolution (that had happened back in April 1775), the date on which the Declaration was delivered to Great Britain (that didn’t happen until November 1776), or the date it was signed (that was August 2, 1776).
2. After the War of 1812, the Federalist party began to come apart and the new parties of the 1820s and 1830s all considered themselves inheritors of Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans. Printed copies of the Declaration began to circulate again, all with the date July 4, 1776, listed at the top. Celebrations of the Fourth of July became more common as the years went on and in 1870, almost a hundred years after the Declaration was written, Congress first declared July 4 to be a national holiday as part of a bill to officially recognize several holidays, including Christmas. Further legislation about national holidays, including July 4, was passed in 1938 and 1941.
3. The signed copy of the Declaration is the official, but not the original, document. The approved Declaration was printed on July 5th and a copy was attached to the “rough journal of the Continental Congress for July 4th.” These printed copies, bearing only the names of John Hancock, President, and Charles Thomson, secretary, were distributed to state assemblies, conventions, committees of safety, and commanding officers of the Continental troops. On July 19th, Congress ordered that the Declaration be engrossed on parchment with a new title, “the unanimous declaration of the thirteen united states of America,” and “that the same, when engrossed, be signed by every member of Congress.” Engrossing is the process of copying an official document in a large hand.
4. John Hancock, the President of the Continental Congress at the time, was the first and only person to sign the Declaration on July 4, 1776 (he signed it in the presence of just one man, Charles Thomson, the secretary of Congress). According to legend, the founding father signed his name bigger than everyone else’s because he wanted to make sure “fat old King George” could read it without his spectacles. But the truth is that Hancock had a large blank space and didn’t realize the other men would write their names smaller. Today, the term “John Hancock” has become synonymous with a person’s signature.
5. The 56 signers of the Declaration did not sign on July 4, 1776, nor were they in the same room at the same time on the original Independence Day. The official signing event took place on August 2, 1776 when 50 men signed the document. Several months passed before all 56 signatures were in place. The last man to sign, Thomas McKean, did so in January of 1777, seven months after the document was approved by Congress. Robert R. Livingston, one of the five original drafters, never signed it at all since he believed it was too soon to declare independence.
Fire Danger and Fireworks
Firefighting leaders urge the public to celebrate the 4th of July responsibly because fire risk is high and it’s extremely dry this year
Oregon’s State Fire Marshal (OSFM) Mariana Ruiz-Temple and the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Chief of Fire Protection Doug Grafe ask people to be mindful of these conditions when celebrating the holiday. Before lighting off fireworks, they encourage people to know when and where it is allowed.
“The continued drought, coupled with the current weather means everything including forests are extremely dry,” Grafe said. “It’s been a tough year. We have a lot to celebrate this 4th of July. While we do that, I ask you to help prevent fires, which helps protect our forests, communities, and firefighters.”
This year, some Oregon cities and counties put restrictions in place on the use of fireworks through the weekend. If using legal fireworks in communities where they’re allowed, always have a bucket of water on hand to drown spent or used fireworks, have a charged hose nearby, and never light fireworks near dry grass or areas that could catch fire easily.
“Please check with your local municipality, fire service agency, or county on the local laws where you will celebrate the holiday,” Ruiz-Temple said. “Safety of those in Oregon is not only a priority for those who live, work and visit, but for our firefighters as well. We ask that you follow all restrictions and help us in being safe and responsible this holiday weekend.”
In Oregon, it’s illegal to possess, use, or sell fireworks that fly into the air, explode, or travel more than 12 feet horizontally on the ground without a permit. The OSFM can issue permits. Bottle rockets, Roman candles, and firecrackers are illegal without a permit. Officials may seize illegal fireworks and charge offenders with a class B misdemeanor with a fine of $2,500 per firework. A person misusing or causing damage using fireworks can be required to pay firefighting costs and for other damage. Parents are liable for fireworks damage caused by their children.
During fire season it is illegal to use fireworks on ODF-protected lands. While enjoying the forests or outdoors here are ways you can help prevent fires:
- Skip the campfire – it’s already hot enough
- Use a camp stove for cooking
- Don’t use fireworks – enjoy a community’s firework display instead
- Stay on the roads – heat from vehicles can easily start grass on fire
- Don’t smoke – if you do, put the butts out and dispose of them properly
- Don’t use anything with open flame or that could cause sparks
- Check trailer chains to ensure they don’t drag along the road
Stay Safe and Healthy During Fourth of July Weekend
10 ways to prevent injury and illness during holiday
As the Fourth of July weekend approaches, public health officials are reminding Oregonians about a few simple steps they can take to stay safe and healthy.
“The Fourth of July holiday is a great time to celebrate with family and friends. At the same time, it’s important to stay safe,” said Richard Leman, Public Health Physician at OHA. “With the recent hot weather, fires are a real risk. If your community allows use of fireworks this year, take care how you use them.”
“If you’re going to the beach or spending time at a river or lake, the water’s often still pretty cold this time of year and can cause problems for even the strongest swimmer. If you go in the water, stay where it’s shallow, wear a life jacket when boating, and keep a close eye on kids when they’re around the water.”
Food safety is another thing to keep in mind. Warmer weather makes it easier for food to spoil. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans get sick from foodborne diseases. Cooking meats to a proper internal temperature and keeping cold foods cool helps reduce foodborne bacteria from growing.
Here are 10 ways to prevent injury and illness this holiday weekend:
- Avoid alcohol when swimming or boating.
- Always wear life jackets for swimming and boating.
- Don’t swim alone or in bad weather and stay where it’s shallow.
- Supervise children at all times in and near the water.
- Prevent sunburns, use plenty of sunscreen.
- Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
- Keep meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use.
- Don’t leave food out for more than two to three hours.
- To prevent foodborne illness, don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry.
- Cook meats to minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria; 160°F for ground beef, pork and lamb; 165°F for poultry.
Oregon offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities. Whether it’s swimming, surfing, fishing, or some other outdoor play, stay aware of any current health alerts and advisories.
For more information on water recreation, please visit http://public.health.oregon.gov/HealthyEnvironments/Recreation/Pages/index.aspx
For more information on food safety, visit http://public.health.oregon.gov/DiseasesConditions/CommunicableDisease/Pages/index.aspx
Pets and 4th of July
Fireworks, picnics and other Fourth of July traditions can be great fun for people; but all of the festivities can be frightening and even dangerous for animals.
There are more lost Pets over the 4th of July than any other time of the year!
Noisy fireworks and other celebrations can startle animals and cause them to run away; holiday foods can be unhealthy; summer heat and travel can be dangerous; and potentially dangerous debris can end up lying on the ground where pets can eat or play with it.
- Leave your pets at home when you go to parties, fireworks displays, parades, and other gatherings. Loud fireworks, unfamiliar places, and crowds can all be very frightening to pets, and there’s a great risk of pets becoming spooked and running away.
- Consider putting your pets in a safe, escape-proof room or crate during parties and fireworks.
- Keep horses and livestock in safely fenced areas and as far from the excitement and noise as possible.
- If you’re hosting guests, ask them to help keep an eye on your pets to make sure they don’t escape. Placing notes on exit doors and gates can help both you and your guests remain vigilant.
- Keep your pets inside if you or your neighbors are setting off fireworks.
Whether or not you’re planning your own Independence Day celebration, it’s important to take precautions to keep your pets safe both during and after Fourth of July festivities.
OSP Joins Tri-State Effort Keeping Motorists On I-5 Safe over the 4th of July Holiday Weekend
State patrol agencies in Oregon, California, and Washington are partnering for a traffic safety campaign focused on speeding drivers aptly named, “I-5 Alive” starting July 2. This coordinated education and enforcement effort is aimed at making the 1,381 miles of I-5 safer for all summer travelers.
In addition to a social media campaign, Troopers of the Oregon State Police (OSP), Washington State Patrol (WSP), and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will be especially watchful for traffic violations that often lead to tragedy on our highways. Speed & distracted driving top the list, along with driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol and failing to use safety belts and child safety seats.
“Speeding continues to be one of the highest contributing factors to serious injury crashes and fatalities,” stated OSP Superintendent Terri Davie. “Speeding tickets are easily the most common ticket issued; however, it isn’t the goal of law enforcement. The goal of speed enforcement is to potentially save your life and the lives of the others.”
“Driving responsibly and at a reasonable speed is the best way to help ensure you and your passengers will arrive at your destination safely,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said. “We know people are eager to get out and travel, but reckless driving will not get you there sooner – it will just create dangerous conditions for you and everyone else on the road.”
“Summer holidays should be a time of fun and family, not sorrow and tragedy,” Chief John R. Batiste of the WSP said. “We ask everyone driving the I-5 corridor to slow down, pay attention, drive sober, and buckle up. When it comes to safe highways, we are truly all in this together.”
Five simple strategies for drivers to help make I-5 safer for everyone:
• Slow down
• Drive sober
• Be patient
• Put your phone down
• Buckle up
Each state agency will use its best strategies to provide additional enforcement presence during this busy 4th of July weekend, including the use of existing grant funding and shifting resources already on the road over to the I-5 corridor.
The Oregon State Police wants all drivers to get to their final destination safely. We think that working together, we can. Oregon State Police
Please Don’t Drink and Drive
Did you know that this is the holiday with the highest accident statistics in the United States of America? That this is the most dangerous holiday to be on the road? The moment that you are looking at these statistics and reasons why this is such a dangerous holiday, then you might think twice to drink and drive this year on the 4th of July.
When you are talking to everyone about their favorite holiday, then most of them will say that the 4th of July is the one holiday that they are looking forward to. This is a time where partying, drinking, and fireworks are the norms. There aren’t many people that don’t drink or party during this holiday.
And, those that aren’t drinking are driving to see the firework display all over town. This is a time for family, friends, partying, and drinking. And, the scary part is that those people that were drinking are driving around in the early hours of the morning. Drunk.
And this year after being pinned down from the pandemic, and we have a long weekend for the holiday…people are ready to party. The sad thing is there are already fatal accidents being reported as people head out for the weekend.
Car accident statistics
Reports show that we are purchasing over 68 million cases of beer during the 4th of July holidays.
And, this is just for the beer. There are many other alcohols that are available to purchase as well. Reports also state that more than 43 million Americans are traveling during this holiday weekend. Making the roads busier than any other time of the year. Just think how many of these travelers are intoxicated when they are driving.
During the last 10 years, it showed that Independence Day have the highest accident statistics. A total of 2 743 deaths are occurring annually in the USA on the 4th of July. The second highest death rate is on the 3rd of July with an annual death rate of 2 534. This is for accidents alone. This is why this is the deadliest holiday in the United States of America.
July 4th holiday period in 2018 (7-3-2019-7-5-2018)
- 193 people died in motor vehicle road accidents. 40% (78) of those killed, involved DUI or alcohol impaired accidents. This compares to 2017 when 38% of the July 4 holiday period fatalities occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.
- 71% of those who died in alcohol-impaired crashes were in a crash involving at least one driver or motorcyclist with a BAC of .15 or higher.
Reasons why there are so many road accidents and fatal accidents on this holiday:
This is the number one reason why there are so many road accidents and fatal accidents on Independence Day. The scary part is that this isn’t only those who were drinking and driving that is involved in a fatal accident. The innocent people are also involved in these accidents because they couldn’t avoid the accidents.
Getting back home after the celebrations is also the reason for the high accident and death statistics. The high traffic causes people to get impatient and reckless. They just want to get back home, and they even might still have the effect of alcohol that is still in the bloodstream. They are getting irresponsible and causing a serious accident.
The weekend of partying, drinking and having fun. But, unfortunately, this is also the time where people are irresponsible and causing fatal accidents. Before you are considering to drive while under the influence, you should make sure that you are looking at these statistics and other information. This might just save your and your family’s lives.
Driving while impaired of alcohol or drugs is a serious risk. Apart from being irresponsible on the road, impaired driving carries serious insurance consequences. If your insurer discovers you’ve been convicted of a DUI, your car insurance rates could increase or your policy may be cancelled or non-renewed.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been tracking car wreck statistics for a quarter of a century. Fourth of July almost always tops the list. Statistics gathered over the past Twenty five years reveal that, on average, nearly 40 percent of all deadly traffic crashes on July 4 are related to alcohol – although that percentage varies from year to year. Other holidays on the list include Labor Day, New Year’s, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Americans love there holidays and July 4th is no exception. We are proud of who we are and celebrate accordingly. July fourth has been one of the deadliest days you could be on the road according to the NHTSA.
We Hope You Will Drive Safe and Be Safe and Have A Safe and Happy Independence Day Weekend!
We’ll be enjoying the long holiday weekend too and will be back in the office on Tuesday 7/6
Happy 4th of July!