It has been 243 years of celebrating July 4th as the most important United States holiday.

Here are some facts about the signing of our Declaration of Independence, which was not signed on the Fourth of July. That was the date that the document was formally dated, finalized and adopted by the Continental Congress, but printed copies were signed earlier by John Hancock and Charles Thompson, so the document could be given to political committees and military officers.

The famous picture depicting the signing by everyone, at one time in Philadelphia, is a great representation of the dream that has perpetuated through history, but is totally incorrect.

Fifty-four people signed an official engrossed copy on Aug. 2.

John Adams wanted to adopt the holiday as July 2, but it was determined that July 4 was and would be the national holiday.

Here is how some of the original colonies celebrated the first couple July 4 holidays.

In 1776, Manhattan tore down a statue of King George III and later melted it down into bullets.

The British coat of arms was used to start a bonfire in Philadelphia.

The state of Georgia had a mock burning of the King and a mock funeral in Savannah.

By 1777, Independence Day started with ringing of bells. At night, people celebrated with 13 gun salutes. Firework displays often concluded with 13 rockets. Ships in harbors were decorated with patriotic colors and city streets were decorated with patriotic streamers to celebrate the holiday.

 

— by the Sioux Lookout Daughters of the Revolution