There's a song in 1776 (which you can still see - the last show starts at 3pm today!) called "Is Anybody There?" In it, John Adams sings about his commitment to the idea of American independence, and his vision for the nation's future. It's one of my favorite songs in the show, and there's a lyric that I always think about on July 4th:
I see the Pageant and Pomp and Parade!
I hear the bells ringing out
I hear the cannons' roar!
Part of the reason I find this song so stirring is that much of it is taken from a letter that John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, on July 3rd, 1776:
I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. 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.
You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. -- I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. -- Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will triumph in that Days Transaction, even although We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.
I hope that you'll join us tonight at 7:30 at Grimsley High School's football stadium as we celebrate Independence Day the way John Adams envisioned it.