As Ray and I sat at home on the evening of the 4th of July wishing we were with family and friends as usual, we decided to watch A Capitol Fourth on PBS. We are so very thankful that we did. How wonderful it was to see thousands and thousands of people celebrating Independence Day in front of the U.S. Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial. To see Americans of varied skin colors dressed in patriotic clothes and waving American flags, as entertainers sang on the beautiful set was deeply heart-warming.
Black country singer Mickey Guyton performed the national anthem beautifully, and then she served as hostess of the event. She exuded patriotism, love, and hope for our country. It was encouraging.
Singers and musicians of various genres entertained during the first hour of the show. Pianist Emily Bear, age 20, made her piano debut when she was five years old. She played John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” on the piano. Wow! It was amazing.
Gospel singer Yolanda Adams sang at the Lincoln Memorial. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the memorial, she sang the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Adams later sang “My County ‘Tis of Thee,” including the fourth verse:
Our father’s God! to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing:
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King!
The last half-hour fireworks exploded behind the Washington Monument, while the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” performed patriotic music fabulously. The finale of the show was when all of the entertainers gathered to sing America the Beautiful, including this verse:
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
Let us pray that our land will long be bright with freedom’s holy light. May all Americans ask God to protect us by His might. May we all recognize Him as Great God, our King. And let us pray that America’s alabasters cities will gleam, undimmed by human tears!
I felt pretty blue in the late afternoon, but by the end of the concert I had many reasons to feel grateful. I got to talk to friends and to each of our children on Monday. Then, while we were watching “A Capitol Fourth,” our sweet friends Garth and Terry stopped by with two cups of sweet watermelon. We waved through the window, so as not to share our germs with them, and she left the cups on our porch.
We enjoyed sweet watermelon and the joy of being remembered, while we continued watching the show. As I felt grateful for our cups of cold watermelon, I thought of Jesus’ words about a cup of cold water.
“And whoever gives one of these little ones
just a cup of cold water to drink
in the name of a disciple,
truly I say to you,
he shall by no means lose his reward.”