Residents of the United States spend July 4th celebrating the country’s independence. Though July 4 has served as America’s Independence Day for centuries, many other significant and memorable events have taken place on the fourth day of July.
1744: The Treaty of Lancaster is signed in Pennsylvania. The treaty dictates that the Iroquois will cede land between the Allegheny Mountains and the Ohio River to the British colonies.
1776: The United States Declaration of Independence is adopted by the Second Continental Congress. July 4 actually marks the day the final wording of the declaration, which had been submitted on July 2, was approved.
· 1802: The United States Military Academy officially commences operations. Located in West Point, New York, the USMA is the oldest of the five American service academies.
· 1826: On the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of the Independence, the second and third presidents of the United States, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, respectively, pass away. Both men were instrumental to American success during the American Revolution.
· 1831: Samuel Francis Smith’s “America (My Country, ‘Tis of Thee)” is performed in public for the first time. The performance took place during a children’s Independence Day celebration in Boston.
· 1845: Naturalist and essayist Henry David Thoreau moves into a cabin on Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. His experiences there would later be detailed in “Walden Pond.”
· 1913: President Woodrow Wilson addresses veterans of the American Civil War at a reunion marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. More than 50,000 veterans of the war, including roughly 9,000 Confederate veterans, attend the reunion.
· 1939: New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig announces his retirement to a crowd at Yankee Stadium, informing them he feels he is “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Gehrig had recently been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease that would later be widely referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”
1983: Twenty-four-year old New York Yankees left-hander Dave Righetti throws a no-hitter against the rival Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Righetti struck seven of the first nine batters he faced and even overcame a delay in the eighth inning when umpire Steve Palermo suffered a knee injury. Outspoken Yankees owner George Steinbrenner did not attend the game, as he was in Florida celebrating his 53rd birthday with family.
· 2004: The cornerstone of the Freedom Tower is laid on the World Trade Center site in New York City. Now known as One World Trade Center, the building formally opened in November 2014.