Independence was actually declared formally on July 2, 1776. Congress approved it on July 4 and the signing took place on August 2, 1776.
Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence, though some signed later than August 2. These were all delegates to the Second Continental Congress who represented the former 13 colonies that became the United States of America. To them we owe a debt of gratitude for their vision, commitment and bravery.
We also owe a debt of gratitude to the brave men and women who have (and continue to) so valiantly fought and, in some cases, died to preserve the independence, liberty and freedom we enjoy every day...and to their parents, spouses, and children who have sacrificed right along with them.