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July 20 is National Pennsylvania Day—here's a brief history

National Pennsylvania Day commemorates the Commonwealth being granted statehood on Dec. 12, 1787.


Editor's note: The above video is from July 19. 

An overview

July 20 is National Pennsylvania Day, but what does that mean exactly? 

According to National Today, National Pennsylvania Day commemorates the Commonwealth being granted statehood on Dec. 12, 1787.

The reason the day is held in July, however, is because the National Day calendar began honoring the states independently in 2017 following July 4, America's Independence Day. Delaware, the first state to join the Union, has their national day about a week later on July 13, followed closely by our very own Pennsylvania. 

History and significance 

It's no secret that Pennsylvania was the site of many historical events and is still home to a collection of historically-significant buildings, national parks, and landmarks. 

Pennsylvania was considered "centrally-located" among the 13 colonies and thus Philadelphia, the state's largest city, was deemed appropriate to host the first and second Continental Congresses, also according to National Today.

Philadelphia also saw the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution and the launching of the Revolutionary War. The city even served as the nation's capital from 1790 to 1800. 

More broadly, Pennsylvania was also the second state to ratify the United States Constitution, and one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War was fought in Pennsylvania: the Battle of Gettysburg, also according to National Today. 

How to celebrate

There's a number of ways that Pennsylvanians can celebrate their home state today, recommended by National Today. 

First, try visiting a historical site like Gettysburg or Valley Forge, the site of the 1777-78 winter encampment of the Continental Army, commanded by General George Washington himself. 

Second, head to Philadelphia and get that cheesesteak you've been craving. There's no better way to celebrate the Keystone State than with a greasy, cheesy sandwich. 

And third, share your love for your home state on social media. However you decide to celebrate, make sure you snap a pic and include #NationalPennsylvaniaDay in the caption. 

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