I can’t say I’ve ever gotten a Fourth of July card myself, but it’s been known to happen.
In fact, today in 1926, the nation of Poland marked this holiday by sending the U.S. a birthday card with millions of signatures.
Officially it’s known as the “Polish declarations of admiration and friendship for the United States.”
Poland wanted to thank Americans for their aid during World War I.
And the country decided the best time to send its thanks was 1926, the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
Now countries routinely send each other letters of gratitude, sometimes even gifts to show appreciation.
Usually these are sent and signed by top officials, diplomats and dignitaries.
Poland’s card was no exception.
But in this case the country wanted to make it really, really clear how really, really grateful it was for the American help.
So they sent papers around the country for eight months.
Those papers didn’t get to the U.S. in time for the Fourth of July, but it worked out fine, because they got signatures from over 5.5 million people.
That was about one out of every six people in Poland, plus they got some signatures from Polish people living in other countries!
Nearly every schoolkid in Poland signed the card, too.
In all, 30,000 pages, 111 volumes.
And it wasn’t just signatures either.
There were drawings, letters, stories, a few pressed flowers, and these touching words: “Noble Americans, your national holiday is sacred not for you alone. It finds a warm reverberation over the whole world.”
Today was also the birthday of the great singer and songwriter Bill Withers.
When he had his first big hit, “Ain’t No Sunshine,” he was an aircraft mechanic, installing bathrooms on new planes.
There were no hard feelings when he moved into singing: he says the aircraft company gave him a gold toilet seat.
Soul man: Bill Withers (M Magazine)
Images: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Polish Declarations of Admiration and Friendship for the United States