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Americans celebrating Independence Day today (4 July) are getting it all wrong - in fact, they've already missed the anniversary.
US citizens both home and abroad will be getting out the grills, raising the star-spangled banner and setting off fireworks to celebrate the landmark date which saw their separation from Great Britain in 1776.
However, they've missed the date by two days if you want to be pedantic about it (and we do).
The Second Continental Congress gathered to declare the country’s freedom from Great Britain on 2 July 1776 and not in fact 4 July according to historical records.
It was at that point that the Congress members voted on a formal resolution announcing a separation from England, according to Big Think.
The resolution was introduced by Richard Henry Lee, a delegate from Virginia, and it made explicit the intentions of the so-called United Colonies.
Lee wrote: "Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."
This resolution was approved by 12 of the 13 Congress members on the same day - only the New York delegation abstained on a technicality.
However, John Adams was already celebrating independence by 3 July, writing his wife a letter which read: "The most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.
"I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.
"It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade with shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."
There's been plenty of that going on over the years on 4 July, but not so much on 2 July.
So why the 4th?
The finished version of the Declaration of Independence was adopted in Philadelphia on 4 July. It was a more formal document that effectively announced the historic event to the broader world.
It was - as we all know - drafted by Thomas Jefferson, at the time a lawyer and Virginia planter, but later the US' third President, who has come to be viewed as a symbol of the country's slave owning past.
So there you have it, Americans should in fact be celebrating on 2 July - or better yet, why not just celebrate from the 2nd right through to the 4th?
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