Even with the COVID-19 pandemic canceling many Fourth of July events, there are plenty of virtual options for those of you watching from home. Here’s what you need to know about the day’s TV schedule and showtimes for the 2020 Independence Day celebrations.
Fourth of July TV Options
Bloomberg TV: The annual Boston Pops are holding a virtual three-hour celebration called Salute to Our Heroes that pays tribute to the frontline workers in many fields and honoring those who have lost their lives during the current health crises while celebrating our diverse nation’s founding values of liberty and justice for all. It airs from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET/PT on Bloomberg TV.
CNN: Don Lemon and Dana Bash anchor CNN’s special coverage of the Fourth of July, which includes performances by Jewel, Barry Manilow, Martina McBride, Kenny Loggins, Andy Grammer, Carlos Santana and Cindy Blackman Santana, CeCe Winans, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, The O’Jays, Don McLean, Jesse Colin Young and Little Kids Rock, Billy Ray Cyrus, Burt Bacharach & Musicians from the Berklee College of Music, Harlem Gospel Choir, the original Broadway cast of Girl From the North Country, the United States Marine Band, the U.S. Navy Band, and the U.S. Army Field Band, plus various symphonies and philharmonics from all over the country. This airs from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET/PT on CNN.
NBC: Macy’s annual fireworks have been happening all week in New York City and on Saturday, July 4, NBC will broadcast a two-hour special featuring all of the previous week’s displays, virtual or pre-recorded performances by Amanda Gorman, Black Eyed Peas, John Legend, Dr. Elvis, Staff Sergeant Jeremy Gaynor, Tim McGraw, and the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, and a live fireworks finale. It all starts at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
PBS: From 8 p.m. ET/PT to 9:30 p.m. ET/PT, PBS will air a virtual version of its annual special A Capitol Fourth. This year’s lineup includes Patti LaBelle, John Fogerty, Renee Fleming, Trace Adkins, Andy Grammer, Yolanda Adams, Brantley Gilbert, Lauren Alaina, The Temptations, Chrissy Metz, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Kelli O’Hara, Mandy Gonzalez, Jack Everly, the National Symphony Orchestra, Patrick Lundy & The Ministers of Music, the Choral Arts Society of Washington, the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, and the U.S. Army Presidential Salute Battery.
The Fourth of July’s Origins
The Fourth of July — or Independence Day — is celebrated each year to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence of the United States on July 4, 1776. Congress voted to declare independence from British rule on July 2 but the declaration was not signed until two days later.
Independence Day is a federal holiday and has come to be celebrated with various outdoor activities, like picnics, barbecues, town festivals, fireworks displays, parades, and more.
Macy’s fireworks in New York City is the largest display in the country, but hundreds of other fireworks displays are lighting up the sky all over the country.
There is also the annual tradition of the free PBS concert called A Capitol Fourth, which boasts live performances by some of music’s hottest stars and also appearances or performances by the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, the United States Army Presidential Salute Guns Battery, the U.S. Army Band, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Choral Arts Society of Washington.
This year’s Fourth of July celebrations have largely gone virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic but hopefully, things will be back to normal in 2021.
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