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Fascinating July 4th facts: We're celebrating the wrong day

And did you know Betsy Ross probably didn't sew the very first flag? It turns out there are a lot of myths about the Fourth of July. Arm yourself with the truth about July 4 and the war for independence before you head out today – and impress your friends and family at the barbecue later.
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Happy Independence Day everyone!

Here's some fun history about America's birthday...

This marks the day the Declaration of Independence was actually signed (July 4, 1776) and not the day the colonies declared independence, which was July 2, 1776.

The fact is we are two days late in our celebrating. John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail: “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America.” It didn't work out that way, Scripps Howard's Dale McFeatters writes.

Today is also not about the formal founding of our government, which didn't happen until 1787.

And it has nothing to do with the anniversary of the U.S. Constitution, which Abraham Lincoln himself considered quite secondary.

Here's a great piece on the history of the day by Sanford Levinson of the University of Texas at Austin, who writes about the relative value of this great document - "The Declaration of Independence" - among all things American. (One note: Levinson appears to have gotten one fact wrong: the U.S. National Archives notes that the document it displays – the one we consider the Declaration of Independence – was dated July 4 but not signed until Aug. 2.) Levinson's piece was published originally by the Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg, Va.

It seems there are a lot of myths about July 4 and the war for independence. You know Molly Pitcher, right? Most likely she didn't actually ... exist.

And we were taught Paul Revere screamed "The British are coming!" on his famous ride. But ... not so much. Here's more on those and other myths from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

And take this fun trivia from ABC News with you to your July 4 party today. Among the fast facts: Which three presidents died on July 4? Hint: They were among the first five presidents.

Finally, which current occupant of the White House has a birthday today? Hint: She's pictured here hugging Justin Bieber.

Make it a GREAT holiday!

- Rick Kupchella

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