Tag Archives: famous

Independence Day: The fourth of July

If you happen to spend the 4th July with a bunch of Americans today, you will most likely be having a backyard barbeque with burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, coleslaw and watermelon, the juicy ripe red watermelon everyone loves and can’t get enough of. All of this is often served on paper plates. Cans of beer, Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, Snapples, Coke or Pepsi are kept in cooling bins full of crushed ice. Perhaps little paper flags or streamers displaying the typical colors of the Star-Spangled Banner will be part of the decoration.

Maybe the town will offer picnic and barbeque opportunities at some public area. Baseball games, parades, concerts and other summertime events mark this national holiday. Politicians might even appear at different celebrations holding speeches on all kinds of freedoms.  Most likely there will be fireworks, too, in honor of the birthday of the United States of America.

Although Independence Day is a significant American holiday, it doesn’t dominate the summer as Thanksgiving and Christmas dominate the fall and winter season. For instance, there are no greeting cards in the stores. Along with beach parties, family trips and BBQs that dot the summer months, the Fourth of July is one of many typical summer events. School will have been out for a month already and another month and a half to go.

But what is Independence Day originally about? 

The English established their first permanent settlement in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. By 1733 there were 13 English colonies: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island. These colonies were ruled by the King of England, King George III.  Over time the relationship between the settlers and the British began to crumble due to unfair laws and taxes and the growing sense of nationalism in the colonies. In short: people didn’t want to be ruled by a king so far away.It´s_time_that_we_become_independent_jefferson

A letter to King George III

The Continental Congress – a meeting of delegates from the thirteen colonies –  appointed five leaders, called the Committee of Five. They were meant to write the King a formal letter. These five men were John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston, Roger Sherman and Thomas Jefferson. Their letter explained why Congress had voted to declare Independence. This Declaration of Independence contained three essential points:

  1. Beliefs of what made a government good
  2. The dislike of the oppressive government
  3. Break with Great Britain

On July 4th, 1776 Congress officially adopted the final version of the Declaration of Independence. On August 2nd, all 56 delegates of the Continental Congress signed it.

A holiday is born

Following its adoption, the Declaration of Independence went viral in various cities, by word-of-mouth, being read aloud before troops and published in newspapers or delivered on horseback and by ship. Whenever heard, people shouted and cheered.

People continued this tradition by lighting candles, setting off fire crackers, firing guns and ringing bells.

Finally, Congress declared July 4th a federal holiday in 1941.

 

Author & Picture: Elisabeth Stützel

“A day without laughter is a day wasted”

Everybody knows Charlie Chaplin because of his fame as actor, filmmaker and composer of the silent era. But I bet you don’t know everything about him…

Let’s start with a short biography:

Charlie Chaplin was born in London in 1889. His birth name was Charles Spencer Chaplin, though he had many nicknames such as Charlie, Charlot and The Little Tramp. Charlie Chaplin went to the United States in 1910, at the age of 21, trying to become a professional actor. Two years later, Chaplin signed his very first contract and entered into the famous world of Hollywood. He grew to become one of the most popular and successful actors of that time. The moment that really kicked off his long career was in 1921 when he produced his first full length film called “The Kid”. From then on, most people all over the world knew Charlie Chaplin and loved his movies. He had a great career and life. He died in Switzerland in 1977, at the age of 88.

#1: Charlie Chaplin once won the third prize in a Charlie Chaplin look-charliechaplina-like contest

I know, you’re probably thinking, are you kidding?! This is a myth that has been around for a long time, but there is no direct record of it happening, and all of the claims are anecdotal. This anecdote, told by Lord Desborough, whoever he may have been, was quite widely reported in the British press at the time, so it was assumed that this is the source of an urban myth. However it may be true!

#2: Charlie Chaplin once confessed he had sexual relations with more than 2,000 women   

He had a fondness for young women. Chaplin was married four times and had eleven children. He was 29 and his first wife was 16 when they married. His second marriage was to Lita Grey, who was 16, when he was 35. His third and possibly fictional marriage to Paulette Goddard, occurred when he was 47 and she was 28. Chaplin married his last wife, Oona O’Neill, shortly after she turned 18 while he was 54.

#3: Charlie Chaplin’s corpse was stolen

Three months after Chaplin died on Christmas 1977, his body was stolen in an effort to extort money from his family. Chaplin’s body was recovered eleven weeks later after the grave robbers were captured. He is now buried under six feet of concrete to prevent further theft attempts.

#4: Charlie Chaplin has an asteroid named after him

3623 Chaplin (1981 TG2) is a main belt steroid between Mars and Jupiter, which was named after Charlie Chaplin. It was discovered on October 4, 1981 by Ms. Karachkina.

#5: Charlie Chaplin never became a U.S. citizen

He was exiled from the USA in 1953 because he refused to accept the American citizenship. That’s why he lived in Switzerland during his exile years and then died there.

#6: Charlie Chaplin’s imprints on the Hollywood Walk of Fame were removed

Because he was suspected of being a communist, his imprints were removed from the Hollywood Walk of Fame and were afterwards lost.

Author & Pictures: Deborah Ghezzi