Live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, gold medal winner Scott Hamilton will lead the tribute to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams honoring past and present Olympians and Paralympians before a crowd of hundreds of thousands. Olympians and Paralympians to be honored during the tribute include: Eli Bremer (modern pentathlon, 2008); B. Pat Connolly (athletics, 1960, '64 & '68); Harold Connolly (athletics, 1956, '60, '64 & '68); Jake Deitchler (wrestling, 2008); Kendrick Farris (weightlifting, 2008); Dominic Grazioli (shooting, 2008); Alexandra Harbold (canoe/kayak, 1992 & '96); Mike Harbold (canoe/kayak, 1988, '92 & 96); Dave Johnson (swimming, 1968); Jessica Long (U.S. Paralympics, swimming, 2004 & ‘08); Khan "Bob" Malaythong (badminton, 2008); Tim Morehouse (fencing, 2008); Lacey O'Neal (athletics, 1964 & '72); Nancy Rios (sailing, 2008).
Additionally, a musical tribute from the National Symphony Orchestra with maestro Erich Kunzel will include John Williams' "Olympic Fanfare" and the inspirational song "This is the Moment" performed by Tony Award-winning Broadway Star Brian Stokes Mitchell.
The multi-award winning event will be broadcast in high definition and commercial free on PBS Friday, July 4, 2008 from 8:00 to 9:30 pm ET (check local listings). The event will also be simulcast on National Public Radio and around the world to our troops on the American Forces Network.
A Capitol Fourth will also include special performances by Grammy Award-winning musicians Huey Lewis and the News, American Idol winner Taylor Hicks, Rock ‘n' Roll Hall of Fame legend Jerry Lee Lewis, classical superstar Hayley Westenra and American soprano Harolyn Blackwell in performance with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Erich Kunzel.
New this year is extended coverage of the most dazzling display of fireworks in the nation. The skyline of our capital will come alive with vibrant and booming pyrotechnics, set against silhouettes of national landmarks including the U.S. Capitol, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials.
In addition, the program will feature performances by The Choral Arts Society of Washington, The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, The U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, The U.S. Army Presidential Salute Battery, and an Armed Forces Color Guard provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C.