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Special – 1986 – Liberty Weekend – US Pres Reagan Speaks + John Williams Conducts + Fireworks


US President Ronald and Nancy Reagan opened this televised NBC Special celebrating the 1986 Lady Liberty Weekend Celebration in New York Harbor…..with the Statue of Liberty in the backdrop and the New York City skyline as wonderful silhouette to the festivities….especially the fireworks display….which is by far the finest, most exhilarating 20 minutes of “bombs bursting in air” that you will ever see.  The entire Liberty Weekend Celebration was carried on ABC featuring an all-star casts of hosts….to include Barbara Waters and Peter Jennings. 

The Opening Ceremonies of Liberty Weekend were held on July 3, 1986 at Governor’s Island in New York Harbor…. as French President François Mitterrand was on hand to give his well wishes to the American people….then Secretary of the Interior Donald Hodel….for the Interior department is the government agency responsible for the Statue of Liberty….and he was followed by Executive Producer David Wolper along with the Chairman of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation Lee Iacocca spoke….with the latter introducing the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan.

The Liberty Orchestra was conducted by John Williams premiering his composition, “Liberty Fanfare” featuring the Liberty Weekend herald trumpets….while the Liberty Weekend Chorus was conducted by N. Brock McElheran….music professor from the prestigious Crane School of Music, S.U.N.Y. Potsdam, Potsdam, N.Y…..as the chorus also featured alumni members of the Crane School of Music Chorus….after which Kenneth Mack Jr. sang the National Anthem….followed by Gregory Peck, Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra who also spoke.    

Reagan spoke of the friendship between France and the United States with an emphasis on the workers conducting the restoration work…. then he unveiled the Statue for the first time since its restoration. This was followed by musical performances by Neil Diamond, who sang “They’re Coming to America”….. then Frank Sinatra sang “The House I Live In”….which was followed by Jose Feliciano  and Diane Schuur singing a duet, “The American Wedding Song” …..and ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov performed among others. 

Ted Koppel of ABC News Nightline presented the Medal of Liberty to outstanding naturalized Americans….as he passed the mike to President Reagan to speak again….and this time he symbolically lit the torch of the Statue of Liberty by pressing a button shooting a laser from the podium to torch. This was done from the flight deck of the USS John F. Kennedy.

This was followed by the mother of all fireworks displays….with over 22,000 shells being launched high above the New York City skyline….while being set to The Stars and Stripes Forever  above the newly renovated Lady Liberty. 

This video is simply MUST SEE TV for any American….it takes your breath away when you think about the number of each our  great great grandpas….great grandpas….grandpas and pas came through Ellis Island….and just what Lady Liberty means o so many….MUST SEE TV!!!!!  

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