“Let the Guilty Pay…”

Original image is a still from music video, below. Graphics by MHProNews.

That’s not necessarily an indictment of the song, its writer, or the artist that popularizes a tune. It is a statement of reality, of the ebb and flow of music and culture. The new becomes familiar, and the familiar – right or wrong – becomes ‘old.’

But as the Japanese and other cultures grasp, old can be beautiful.

The lyrics for the song “Independence Day” that follows is from the Song Facts website, from this link here, and is provided under fair use guidelines.


Independence Day

Well she seemed all right by dawn’s early light
Though she looked a little worried and weak.
She tried to pretend he wasn’t drinkin’ again
But daddy’d left the proof on her cheek.
And I was only eight years old that summer
And I always seemed to be in the way
So I took myself down to the fair in town
On Independence Day.

Well, word gets around in a small, small town
They said he was a dangerous man
But mama was proud and she stood her ground
But she knew she was on the losin’ end.
Some folks whispered and some folks talked
But everybody looked the other way
And when time ran out there was no one about
On Independence Day.

Let freedom ring, let the white dove sing
Let the whole world know that today
Is a day of reckoning.
Let the weak be strong, let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away, let the guilty pay
It’s Independence Day.

Well, she lit up the sky that fourth of July
By the time that the firemen come
They just put out the flames
And took down some names
And send me to the county home.
Now I ain’t sayin’ it’s right or it’s wrong
But maybe it’s the only way.
Talk about your revolution
It’s Independence Day.

Let freedom ring, let the white dove sing
Let the whole world know that today
Is a day of reckoning.
Let the weak be strong, let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away, let the guilty pay
It’s Independence Day.

Roll the stone away
It’s Independence Day.

Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC


What does the song mean?

According to the country-music website, The Boot at this link here, “In 1994, Martina McBride released “Independence Day,” a single that became one of her signature songs. Written by Gretchen Peters, the tune shares the story of a mother and daughter living with an abusive husband, told through the eyes of the young girl. On July 4th, the lyrics go, the daughter walks down to the fairgrounds — and while she is out, her mother burns down their house, with her husband inside, and achieves her own “Independence Day.”

To say that it has dark overtones is to state the obvious.

But that doesn’t mean or imply that this is a song about hopelessness. Quite the contrary, as tragic as the story is, this song has energy, hope, ironic joy, and overtones of the Christian belief in the resurrection.

None of this seems to have anything to do with the 4th of July holiday that we call Independence Day. Or does it?

The music video shows a Fourth of July parade, full of the pomp, patriotism, and the regalia that was part of small-town life decades ago. Some would argue that such can still be found in numbers of America’s rural towns. Some of those are towns where a single section manufactured home may be found sited on a piece of property flaked by conventional housing.

Let the Guilty Pay

Part of the lyrics from McBride’s hit song has a refrain, “Let the guilty pay.” America is known as the “Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave.” The words “Equal Justice Under Law” are etched on the façade of the U.S. Supreme Court.



Historically speaking, America has always had rich and poor, the powerful and the meek. Despite untold numbers of examples in almost 2½ centuries of history as a nation since 13 colonies declared their independence from Britain, there has been obvious times when “equal justice” was not administered.

But the ideal is still to be held high. It is part of what inspires young soldiers, sailors, aviators, and support people to join the military – the high and noble call to fight for the ideals of our country.

Apart from a clear understanding of the effects of sin in life, no one can possibly grasp all the powerful nuances of the McBride song. Nor can we understand what’s right and wrong in our industry or nation apart from a clear grasp of what is true and what is false.

Too few ask, what is the impact of the rigging of America on millions of our fellows? Doesn’t it contribute to the drinking, the drug abuse, the economic stress, the broken families, the tragedies that this music video exemplifies? How many lives are lost or squandered, due to the abuses of the noble ideals of the American dream? Thus, the struggle continues.

But yes, millions live a life here in the U.S.A. that most of the world can only dream about. We should celebrate that reality. But we must also strive day by day to continue to elevate the American dream to achieve its ideals.

Roll the stone away,” is a lyrical echo from McBride’s song that is a reminder of the Resurrection of Christ. It is a reminder too that believers hold in the promise of their own resurrection someday. Let the guilty pay,” when the resurrection comes, the unrepentant guilty will – in the minds of millions of believers – pay. Eternally.

The lyrics and the performance of the music video “Independence Day” captures a world of emotion. The lyrics, video, and singing are brilliantly done. They combine in a performance with messages as fitting as can be for this noble national holiday.

To get a sense of the historical meaning of Independence Day, see the Masthead article linked below. Don’t worry, despite the featured image, it is focused on history, not this song.


With the markets closed, there is no stock report today. Happy Independence Day from all of us to all of you.

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Tony earned the Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma. He has earned multiple awards in manufactured housing and in history. He’s a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and

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