Franklin Pierce was the 14th president of the United States. Like other presidents he enjoyed seeing the smiling faces of children on the Fourth of July as they jumped and played and eagerly waited for the day's special events to begin.
It was a very hot day on July 4, 1854 in Washington, D.C. The President had been busy in the White House receiving visitors and listening to the music played by marching bands as they passed by his residence.
That evening, he decided to step out to stretch his legs and enjoy the cool of the evening. He put his hat on, walked down the long driveway and made his way across Pennsylvania Avenue onto Monument Square. Thousands of people had gathered there to see the spectacular display of fireworks that was about to begin.
As the President walked among the crowds, a boy approached a gentleman and asked, "When sir, are the fireworks to begin?"
"I don't know," was the reply. "Ask that gentleman with the large hat." The young boy walked up to "that gentleman," who was none other than President Pierce.
The boy asked, "Mister, can you tell me when the fireworks are to begin?"
The President gave the proper information in a mild manner, and the boy ran off to his friends to communicate the news, not dreaming that the man with the large hat was the President of the United States.
This page last updated May 20, 2008.
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