The “spirit of America” was the focus of remarks delivered by President Gerald R. Ford and O.J. Simpson during a gala event to commemorate the Bicentennial Independence Day. The star-studded gala, titled Let Freedom Ring Again, was held on July 3, 1976 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
For background, the 1976 Bicentennial of American Independence was a major cultural phenomenon.
A wave of patriotism and nostalgia swept the nation. For more than a year, it seemed that everyone was organizing events and activities to commemorate this milestone and reminders of America’s 200th birthday were everywhere, everything from sugar packets to license plates, magazine covers, T-shirt iron-ons, cigarette lighters were made to commemorate the event. In 1976 every classroom in America was decorated in red, white & blue with government produced “educational” Bicentennial posters lining the walls..
The multi-year Bicentennial celebration culminated on Sunday, July 4, 1976, with the 200th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
On Saturday, July 3, 1976, the eve of the nation’s 200th anniversary, the Bicentennial’s most star-studded event was held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. “Let Freedom Ring Again” was the brainchild of Bill Marriott, chairman and founder of the hotel corporation and the chairman of Honor America, the group responsible for all official Bicentennial events.
The “Let Freedom Ring Again” show explored four key aspects of America: The Spirit, The Government, The Land and The People. The show’s participants were among the most well known and most admired Americans and included: President Gerald R. Ford and Mrs. Betty Ford, Reverend Billy Graham, Art Linkletter, Telly Savalas, Bob Hope, Annette Funicello, Princess Pale Moon and O.J. Simpson.
We are thrilled to share the remarks on the Spirit of America delivered by President Gerald R. Ford and O.J. Simpson at the “Let Freedom Ring Again” show on July 3rd 1976. This footage has not been available to the public in decades.