The Fourth of July show will go on as usual tonight in Boston. For the 40th year in a row, the Boston Pops will perform along the banks of the Charles River as fireworks burst overhead.
But the scene and the mood will be different, with heavy security measures in the wake of the recent Boston Marathon bombings. It's in the back of many people's minds that the July 4 celebration was apparently the original target until, police say, the bombers decided to attack the race instead.
It's an even more notable July 4th this year on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, where the Statue of Liberty is open for the first time since Superstorm Sandy pummeled the Mid-Atlantic region last fall.
The Fourth of July is America's favorite holiday to get together, grill barbecue, and celebrate what it means to be American. It's also probably our best opportunity to debate whose barbecue is the best. With its regional varieties, the rubs-vs.-sauce debates and the fiercely guarded recipe secrets, arguing about barbecue is almost an American pastime. Few foods better demonstrate the diversity of our country.
Jazz music has become a point of pride for the United States of America: a homegrown art form forged from folk traditions. But jazz recordings of American patriotic songs aren't abundant. Perhaps because many of jazz's foremost creators were black Americans who lived in a society which actively discriminated against them, many didn't think to tackle that material.