Wondering what to do tonight? Tune into A Capitol Fourth!

It’s July 4th and I’m very giddy. I got to interview celebrities for a behind the scenes preview of PBS’s A Capitol Fourth concert yesterday

Needless to say, I WAS FREAKING OUT. I am very thankful for the opportunity I had yesterday and for being able to live in this amazing country. I realize that we have been at war for 15 years, but I feel safe right here, right now, thanks to the many men, women and families that allow me that peace of mind.


Right before my first celebrety interview- do I look nervous?

I had the chance to catch-up with singers Gavin Degraw and Kenny Loggins, as well as actor Tom Bergeron and former Olympian Scott Hamilton. I really wanted to get their thoughts on the issues our service men, women and their families face every day. I also picked up some fun tips. And somehow I managed to keep it together long enough to get some solid info.


Me and Tom Bergeron

Tom Bergeron shared with me what he thought about the reality that military families serve too. He said, “I know it is customary for people to say to service men and women that we appreciate your service, but I think that same compliment should extend to military families because they serve in ways that are not overly appreciated, so thank you.” After speaking with him I let him in on the fact that he was my first official interview ever. Tom told me, he couldn’t tell and that I was a natural. Insert metaphorical pat on the back—nailed it.



For all of the Olympic sports fans out there, according to Scott Hamilton, “the only way to miss the Olympics is to [actually] go to it.” You know what that means, I will be tuning in from my living room to make sure I don’t miss a thing. Sorry Rio, maybe some other time. This is from the real deal, believe it.


After tapping along to Kenny Loggins’ classic “Footloose,” he shared some insight into his legendary song. Apparently, it didn’t used to be such a big deal. He said “there was a period of time when the tempo wasn’t cool. I would play it live and people wouldn’t get up and dance to it. Now, I can play a full a benefit concert and before people would be stuck to their chairs, but as soon as I hit “Footloose,” people are up and dancing.” According to Kenny, “the song is really about personal freedom and lyrically it is the perfect song to do on the 4th of July.” Later, when he performed it live for the dress rehearsal show, I really felt free and couldn’t keep my feet from moving.

When asked how we could do more to support our troops, Kenny said “keep them in your mind and your hearts and just know that they are out there and doing the best they can with the situation they are in. I’ve got a girlfriend and when I’m out on the road, at least I get to come home in a few weeks. I keep thinking about the guys and girls that are out there and away from home for so long and I marvel at the stress they are under, and the job they are doing. Like so many people, I really appreciate what they are doing out there. Especially in the new era of terrorism we are facing, it is getting hotter and we need their help.”

While the entire day was amazing and humbling, my favorite part was getting to meet Gavin Degraw. I truly felt like a starstruck teenager. I had the opportunity to meet Gavin a few years prior, but couldn’t put two words together then. After finding out I was there on behalf of military families, he gave me the most memorable high five and let me know we were doing much needed work. 


I was excited to find out how he writes such great music. For him, “sometimes a common story or theme in your life or friends life keeps coming up and you write a song about it.” I think many military families can definitely relate to that one. So now, according to Gavin, all that you have to do is “take things that people are feeling and make it rhyme.” Easy peasy. I’m going to dust off my old rhyming dictionary and get to it.

And to all the military spouses, Gavin had a special message for you (watch it here!). He “hopes your loved ones get home safe, sound and soon.” I’ll second that.

It was a long day in our great nation’s capital, but it was worth it. Happy 240th birthday America.


A Capitol Fourth will air live on PBS, Monday, July 4, 2016 from 8 to 9:30pm ET. You can follow or join in on all the excitement by using #July4thPBS

ivory-smithPosted by Ivory Smith, Graphic Designer


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