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Song for the 4th: Hamilton Broadway Cast ‘The Story of Tonight’

Before there were fireworks, there were guns and cannons.

Editor’s Note: As the 4th of July holiday weekend rolls around, students in the CMN Music Journalism Program were asked to come up with one song they think is appropriate for the 4th of July, 2019.

Until this writing article, I had never given too much thought about the meaning behind the 4th of July while I was celebrating it. The holiday for me consisted of matching family shirts from Old Navy, barbecues and fireworks. I was always more focused on having a good time and enjoying my day off.

Trying to find a song that represents Independence Day in 2019 is difficult because each American has a different experience. Some people emphasize their love of the country, while on the opposite side of the spectrum, others abstain from celebrating a country they feel that does not give them true independence. No two July 4th experiences have given me a feeling that could be represented in one song.

There have been sad years, happy years, and years where I did not even celebrate. And times where I have not even celebrated or thought about the holiday because I have been out of the country at the time.

I had to go back in time to find my reason and personal importance of the 4th of July.

“The Story of Tonight” from the smash hit Broadway musical Hamilton is a song that depicts the history of the fight for independence and is relevant to me — and all United States citizens on July 4th. The moments represented here were some of the beginnings of the fight that lead to the rights we routinely exercise today.

Just like a typical 4th of July party, the four revolutionary heroes in this song are drinking and toasting to the idea of a free country. These men —Alexander Hamilton, Hercules Mulligan, Marquis de Lafayette and John Laurens — all contributed to the fight during the Revolutionary War.

They sing, “Raise a glass to freedom, Something they can never take away.” Celebration of how far we have come is one aspect of listening to these lyrics, but this is also a reminder that people died for this cause. Laurens eventually was killed in action when he faced his enemies head-on, and he sings “I may not live to see our glory! But I will gladly join the fight.”

After thinking about what this day meant to me, it was not the food or fireworks that were most important, but the being thankful for the freedoms I have in this country and appreciating the battle it took to get here.

This track is a great way to not only honor the spirit and people who made America free from oppression, but also something you can apply to your patriotism today.

Although we are free, there are still many battles and fights to improve the quality of life for all Americans. While you look back on the noble men and women who fought and campaigned for our country, also look to the future where our countrymen old and new can band together and continue to fight for freedom. “Tomorrow there’ll be more of us, Telling the story of tonight.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

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