For Washington, the Fourth of July will be a day of hot dogs, fireworks and inspiring music compliments of the National Symphony. For Libby Rook of Vienna, Va., it will be a dream come true.

Rook, a Vienna-based configuration management consultant and mother of three, has been invited to toast this year's Independence Day aboard publishing tycoon Malcolm Forbes' yacht in New York.

Her request a month ago was simple, frank and, of course, encouraged by her coworkers. Rook, whose 44th birthday coincidentally is July 4, is a stranger to Forbes and his elite circles, but she wrote to him requesting an invite to his July Fourth party. (She assumed he was having one -- good guess.)

Her letter, which was later read by Forbes aboard his plane in Europe, said: "At the office today there were many of us drooling and wondering what it would be like to: (1) attend a party like that {Forbes magazine's 70th anniversary}, (2) be Elizabeth Taylor, and (3) helicopter to a party!"

For every question there should be an answer, Forbes thought, and so the invitation was issued. She and her son Robert will be picked up tomorrow by Forbes' helicopter at National Airport and whizzed off to his 151-foot yacht Highlander for an intimate party of 50 guests and an evening of fireworks.

The Bolshoi Bomb Threat The State Department yesterday denounced the bomb threat that earlier this week delayed the first New York appearance of Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet in 11 years. Announcing that the Soviets had delivered an official protest of the incident, department spokeswoman Phyllis Oakley said, "Such threats of violence, whatever their intended purpose, are incompatible with internationally accepted standards of hospitality, and do a disservice to this country, to the theatergoing public and to the reputation of a great city."

A mechanical device rigged to look like a bomb, but containing no explosive, was found in a trash can at New York's Lincoln Center Tuesday night after a man called several news organizations to say a bomb had been planted to protest a performance by the ballet troupe.

Oakley summed up the problem, saying, "Cultural exchange is a two-way street."

Kris Kristofferson's Award Singer Kris Kristofferson, one of the several entertainers expected here tomorrow at the "Welcome Home" concert at Capital Centre had a somewhat embarrassing experience Wednesday after an appreciation plaque given to him by the Albany Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee turned up in the trash.

After the singer's benefit concert Tuesday at the Albany, N.Y., Coliseum Theater, Kristofferson's plaque, which thanked him for his "unselfish support" in helping raising funds for a county veterans memorial, was found in a pile of trash by a worker cleaning up his dressing room.

Philip Cohen, an owner of the theater, said Kristofferson is "saying 'I support the Vietnam veterans' to the public because it's the 'in' thing to do, and then we go out the back door and find this." Cohen added that Kristofferson was paid for the show.

A spokeswoman for Kristofferson says the plaque "ended up in the garbage by mistake."

Sting Misses His Mother's Funeral Rock star Sting was unable to return home to northeast England yesterday to attend his mother's funeral. His publicist Keith Altham said the 36-year-old singer would remain on the Caribbean island of Montserrat where he is recording and is "naturally very upset" by the news of his mother's death. No reason was given for the performer's absence.

Eleanor Smeal to Step Down at NOW National Organization for Women president Eleanor Smeal says she is stepping down when her term ends later this month because she wants to take the women's movement in new directions and get more women into politics.

Smeal, 47, said yesterday that she has not ruled out running for political office herself next year, but for the immediate future she intends to campaign independently for more political power for women.

"I think the timing is imperative," Smeal said. "I think the country is in a crisis. There is a crisis in leadership, and yet women are constantly asked to take a back seat. We can do a lot more."

Smeal said she intended to "dog the presidential candidates" on issues of importance to women and make sure women's issues are not "put in some box."

-- Compiled from staff and wire reports by Moira Mulligan Chuck Conconi is on vacation