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Actor Jimmy Smits hosts 'A Capitol Fourth' celebration

Actor Jimmy Smits is hosting 'A Capitol Fourth,' the annual free concert from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

July 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Crowds are gathering in Washington, D.C. for Monday night's musical Fourth of July tribute to America.

Actor Jimmy Smits is hosting "A Capitol Fourth," which is the annual free concert from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

Smits spoke about the meaning of the Declaration of Independence and the men and women who protect our country.

"When you see the young people that come from Walter Reed and Bethesda that have made sacrifices to keep those words potent in our minds, it just puts it all in perspective for me," said Smits.

"Dancing With the Stars" pros Mark Ballas and Chelsie Hightower will do the rhumba while "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks sings "Beauty and the Beast." Sparks will also sing the national anthem.

Steve Martin is also a special guest.

The show will be capped off with a rousing rendition of Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" complete with live cannon fire provided by the U.S. Army Presidential Salute Battery.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.