Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain. The holiday is commonly associated with fireworks displays, parades, barbecues and concerts. Some of your favorite country stars take time to remember their Fourth of July traditions, memories and what the holiday really means to them.
AUDIO: Darius Rucker explains what the Fourth of July holiday means to him.
Darius Rucker (4th of July) OC: …in the world. 1:45
“Fourth of July to me is a day to celebrate freedom. We get to travel all over the world and see a bunch of stuff, and I’ve been to countries that aren’t like ours and that’s when we really appreciate that we can do whatever we want. As long as you’re willing to deal with the consequences, you can do what you want. I like to tell the story when we were playing Dubai, and when you play countries like this you get to really see how great our country is. We went to Dubai, and there was this guy that got in to this altercation with our drummer, with the Hootie drummer on the plane, that was probably 6 or 7 months before this happened. So we went to Dubai and we get a phone call at our offices and this guy is in Dubai and he’s from there and his friends are there, he tells us that his friends are mad, and he won’t do anything but he doesn’t know what his friends are going to do. So we’re in the country and one of our security guys comes up to us, and we’re on the golf course, and the security guy comes up and tells us this. And I happen to be playing with a guy that’s the former chief of police, not even the chief of police today, former chief of police I’m playing golf with. So I go, ‘We should probably tell him and see what he says.’ So we go and tell him the story and he goes, ‘Alright, give me a second.’ He makes one phone call and he comes back to us and says, ‘You all want him arrested or deported?’ We were like, ‘He didn’t do anything.’ And the guy looks us straight in the guy and goes, ‘We’re just gonna deport him.’ Ten minutes later he was on a plane out of the country. And you go, ‘Wow, wow that’s crazy.’ And that’s never gonna happen, you’re not gonna kick an American out of the country for nothing. This guy got kicked out of the country for just making a phone call. And it’s like, ‘Wow! We live in a great country, man.’ And stuff like that makes you really appreciate the Fourth of July, and really appreciate those soldiers that died for us to be sitting here and doing this. And, we live in the greatest country in the world.”
AUDIO: Darius Rucker enjoys setting off fireworks.
Darius Rucker (fireworks) OC: …off once. :15
“Oh, I love fireworks. We had the bottle rocket fights and all that good stuff. I was the typical little crazy kid, you know. In South Carolina, it was always legal, so we shot fireworks when it was legal. We did all that sort of stuff. I almost blew my hand off once.”
AUDIO: Dierks Bentley says the people of this country are what define America.
Dierks (people are America) OC: …all about. :17
“The definition of America to me, you know, getting a chance to travel across the country on a tour bus, stepping upon stages whether it be county fairs, state fairs, arenas, rock bars, the Opry stage, anywhere across the country and looking out at that crowd and seeing people. The people, to me, are what America’s all about.”
AUDIO: Dierks Bentley explains why he is so patriotic.
Dierks Bentley (4th of July-patriotic) OC: …all the time. :17
“I’m extremely patriotic. I love this country, and I love the history of this country. I read books on this country. I spend my time on the road traveling physically throughout the country. The soldiers and their families are constantly on my mind. We work closely with the Wounded Warriors Project. We think about this stuff all the time.”
Eric Church (4th of July) OC: …freedoms. 1:17
“The Fourth of July for me, growing up we would always go to the lake, we didn’t live on the lake but we would all go to the lake. Had a buddy who had a pontoon and we would always get on the pontoon and you go out and you’d tie all the pontoons together and just have a big time. This was before, I was younger then, the adults were having more fun than we were, you know it was just to go swim in the water and shoot off fireworks. Basically, water tailgating is what it was. And then as we got older, same thing…we would just, us younger kids had our own boat and we had as much fun as the adults.”
AUDIO: Eric Church feels we sometimes forget what the Fourth of July is really all about.
Eric Church (real reason for 4th of July) OC: …those freedoms. :44
“I think sometimes we forget what the holiday is about because it can be about a party, and it’s really not. It’s about, especially the soldiers I come in contact with on the road. And not only that, to be able to make the music that I’m able to make, to say what I want to say, and that freedom to be able to do those things and to be in a country where we’re able to do that and to be in a country where we’re able to play that stuff on the radio. I don’t think you’re going to have any America argue that America isn’t the best place to live, and I’m certainly one of them. I’m very proud to be from here and very proud that we have the soldiers. I know there are a lot of other countries out there in the world that don’t want to live the way we do, and that’s fine, they can keep living the way they are, but I’m very proud of it. I think that’s a time to celebrate being proud to be an American and celebrate those freedoms…and celebrate the people that are over there fighting for those freedoms.”
AUDIO: Keith Urban recalls coming over to America for the first time.
Keith Urban (coming to America 1st time) OC: …as I could. :39
“1989 was the first year I came to the States, and it had always been my goal, but I had no plan on how to get here. It was just a case of keep playing, keep getting better at what you do, and then hopefully, somehow, some way I’ll end up over here. The guy who was managing me at the time, we just planned a trip over here – it was actually for the New Music Seminar in New York. And we came over for that, and then we did a trip down to Nashville, and I shopping my little demo around. I think I humored everybody more than anything else [laughs] with my tragic, ill-fitting demo for the time. So, I left there, but I was just so committed to coming back as quick as I could.”
AUDIO: Keith Urban, who’s climbing the charts with his single “For You” from the Act of Valor soundtrack, defines patriotism.
Keith Urban (patriotism) OC: …the unity. :24
“It’s common, shared beliefs and identity. And I think at its core, it’s an incredibly strengthening, vital thing for our people to have, and it’s particularly gratifying in the midst of so much separating of ideas that it can get fractious. And it’s kind of nice that a sense of patriotism can remind everybody of the unity.”
AUDIO: Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild talks about the big sacrifices the military AND their families make to keep this country free.
LBT (military) OC: (Karen) …whenever we can. (Kimberly: “Yeah.”) :
“It’s such a huge sacrifice what these men and women do for us, and not only the ones that are serving, but the families that are left here at home. Kimberly and I met a young girl that, she’s 21 years old and she has a third baby and her husband has served multiple times overseas. She’s raising these children at home, and doing a great job and the best she can, and he’s serving his country. And he’s making a monstrous sacrifice, but so is she and so are those children, and we just can’t take it for granted. I mean, it’s just a huge commitment that they make, and what an honor. We love to be able to sing for them and entertain them and to say thank you whenever we can.” (Kimberly: “Yeah.”)
AUDIO: Luke Bryan recalls one of his favorite Fourth of July memories.
Luke Bryan (4th of July memories) OC: …we used to. :21
“Some of my favorite Fourth of July memories were spent on Lake Blackshear down in Georgia with my family. I was always kind of in charge of driving home from Tennessee and picking up all the fireworks and my nieces and nephews always got excited when I rolled in because they knew I had all the fireworks. But, it was always a great memory, and I miss not getting to do that as much as we used to.”
AUDIO: Luke Bryan explains his definition of what it means to be an American.
Luke Bryan (American) OC: …we want. :17
“I think the definition of an American is somebody who stands up during the ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ and stands up when ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ is being sung and just appreciates what all the fallen heroes and soldiers have done to keep us living in a country that’s free where we have the right to do anything we want.”
AUDIO: Luke Bryan talks about a couple of his favorite summertime activities.
Luke Bryan (favorite summer activities) OC: …the family. :11
“My favorite summer activity is definitely the opportunity to go fly-fishing out West when I’m out there touring, or really just fly-fishing anytime. And obviously getting a week off down at the beach with the family.”