Happy Birthday to the United States of America. On this day 242 years ago, the leaders of the Continental Congress of the 13 American colonies voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence, breaking with the King of England to start their own country. (1776)

5 Fun Traditions to Include in Your July 4th Parties

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • Henry David Thoreau, the American writer, embarked on a two-year experiment in simple living at Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts (1845)
  • Leaves of Grass is first published in NY, Walt Whitman’s seminal book of poems (1855)
  • The Tuskegee Institute, esteemed historically black university, opened in Alabama as a one-room school (1881)
  • Lou Gehrig, afflicted with a fatal disease, stepped to a microphone at New York’s Yankee Stadium and announced his retirement from baseball, telling the crowd that he considered himself “The luckiest man on the face of the earth” (1939)
  • The Philippines is granted independence by US after 381 years of colonialism (1946)
  • The Freedom of Information Act was signed into law by US President Lyndon B. Johnson (1966)
  • Direct flights across the strait between mainland China and Taiwan commenced (2008)
  • The Statue of Liberty’s crown reopened to the public 8 years after the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks (2009)

And, Happy Birthday to Bill Withers, who turns 80 years old today. The soulful American singer-songwriter and musician earned three Grammys and a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his classics, “Lean on Me“, “Ain’t No Sunshine“, “Use Me” and “Just the Two of Us”.

Born in the small coal-mining town of Slab Fork, West Virginia, he spoke with a stutter in his childhood until he overcame it serving for nine years in the US Navy when he turned 18. He then moved to Los Angeles and worked in factories, while pursuing a music career. Even after he debuted with the song “Ain’t No Sunshine”, he refused to quit his job because he believed the music business was too fickle. (1938)

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