Perspectives

A bugler plays "Taps" in honor of our fallen heroes during the NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT, broadcast live from the U.S. Capitol.

Special Presentation Of PBS’ NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT, Sunday May 24 at 8 & 9:30 pm


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JOE MANTEGNA AND GARY SINISE HOST A SPECIAL PRESENTATION OF

PBS’ NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT: AMERICA’S NIGHT OF REMEMBRANCE

Featuring Performances and Appearances by General Colin Powell, Cynthia Erivo, Renée Fleming, Sam Elliott, Laurence Fishburne, Trace Adkins, Mary McCormack, Esai Morales, CeCe Winans, Kelli O’Hara and the National Symphony Orchestra with a Special Performance of the National Anthem by Christopher Jackson

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Featuring a Tribute to our American Heroes on the Front Lines of the Pandemic Crisis

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Capital Concerts announced today a special presentation of the NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT on PBS, hosted by Tony Award-winner Joe Mantegna and Emmy Award-winner Gary Sinise with new performances and tributes filmed around the country honoring all of our American heroes.  Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the traditional live concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol will not be held to ensure the health and safety of all involved.  The special 90-minute presentation of the NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT, featuring new and relevant content for these times and iconic show segments,  will air on Sunday, May 24, 2020 to celebrate our heroes who are doing so much for all of us in the current fight against COVID-19, and continue for the 31st year to honor and remember our troops, veterans, wounded warriors, all those who have given their lives for our nation, and their families.

Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna
Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna

“In this unprecedented time, when the nation needs it most, we will bring Americans together as one family to honor our heroes,” said Executive Producer Michael Colbert.  “This has been the mission of the NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT for 30 years, and we look forward to sharing stories and music of support, hope, resilience, and patriotism.”

America’s national night of remembrance will feature: new appearances and performances by distinguished American statesman General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret); Tony, Emmy, and Grammy winner and two-time Oscar nominee, Cynthia Erivo; world-renowned four-time Grammy Award-winning soprano superstar Renée Fleming; country music star and Grammy-nominated member of the Grand Ole Opry Trace Adkins; Grammy Award-winning gospel legend CeCe Winans; Tony Award-winning Broadway star Kelli O’Hara; Tony Award-nominated actress Mary McCormack; members of the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly; and a special message from General Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.   Broadway and television star Christopher Jackson will open the show with a poignant performance of the national anthem.  The broadcast will also feature performances from previous concerts by Academy Award-nominated actor Sam Elliott; Oscar nominee and Emmy and Tony-Award winner Laurence Fishburne; and actor/producer/director Esai Morales.

Folded flag
A folded national ensign is held carefully prior to the burial of Maj. Douglas A. Zembiec, former commander of E Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. Zembiec was killed in action May 10. He once told reporters during combat in Fallujah his Marines “fought like lions.” Zembiec was laid to rest by the Marine with whom he served May 15.

Woven throughout the program will be messages from prominent guest artists of thanks and support for active-duty military, National Guard and Reserve and their families, veterans, and Gold Star families along with first responders, doctors, nurses, grocery clerks, truck drivers, postal workers…all those who are on the front lines, putting their lives at risk now in the fight against this virus.  Hosts Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise will also share several powerful segments that highlight stories of generations of ordinary Americans who stepped forward and served our country with extraordinary valor in its most challenging times.

The NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT airs on PBS Sunday, May 24, 2020, from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. (and will repeat again at 9:30 t0 11:00 pm on WOUB,) as well as to our troops serving around the world on the American Forces Network.  The concert will also be streaming on Facebook, YouTube and www.pbs.org/national-memorial-day-concert and available as Video on Demand, May 24 to June 7, 2020.

Also participating in new and some past selected performances are members from The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, The U.S. Army Chorus, The U.S. Army Voices and Downrange, The Soldiers’ Chorus of the U.S. Army Field Band, The U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters, The U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants, and Service Color Teams provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C.

Color guard outside the U.S. Capitol.
Color guard outside the U.S. Capitol.

The program is a co-production of Michael Colbert of Capital Concerts and WETA, Washington, D.C.  Executive producer Michael Colbert has assembled an award-winning production team that features the top Hollywood talent behind some of television’s most prestigious entertainmentawards shows including the ACADEMY AWARDS, GRAMMY AWARDS, COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS, TONY AWARDS, and more.

About Capital Concerts

Capital Concerts is the nation’s leading producer of live patriotic television shows, including PBS’s highest-rated performance specials: the NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT and A CAPITOL FOURTH, the premier celebrations of America’s most important holidays broadcast from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.  For 40 years, these two award-winning productions have become national traditions, bringing us together as one family of Americans to celebrate our freedom and democratic ideals and to pay tribute to those who defend them.  The holiday specials have been honored with over 80 awards including the New York Film Festival Award, the Golden Cine Award, and the Writer’s Guild of America Award.

Underwriters

The NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT is made possible by grants from the Lockheed Martin Corporation, the National Park Service, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Department of the Army, General Dynamics, PBS and public television stations nationwide.  Air travel is provided by American Airlines.