Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna will return to host the National Memorial Day Concert: A Night of Remembrance, which will air as usual on PBS stations around the country and the American Forces Network on Sunday, May 29, from 8-9:30 p.m. ET. The concert will be streamed on YouTube and at www.pbs.org/national-memorial-day-concert.
After a two-year, in-person hiatus, the concert returns to a live event on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. In 2020, the concert was pre-taped because of crowd concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, fallout from the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol prevented an in-person event, mostly because of all the fences surrounding the usual concert site.
This year's talent roster features actress and singer Lea Salonga ("Miss Saigon"), actor Norm Lewis ("Scandal"), country music singer-songwriter and U.S. Army veteran Craig Morgan, and Grammy-winning singer Rhiannon Giddens.
The National Symphony Orchestra will perform under the direction of conductor Jack Everly. Military musical participants include members from the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, the U.S. Army Chorus, the Soldiers' Chorus of the U.S. Army Field Band, the U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters, the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants, the Armed Forces Color Guard and Service Color Teams provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C.
As usual, there will be a few special tributes prepared for the event.
Gen. Colin Powell Remembrance
Actor Dennis Haysbert ("24," The Unit," all those Allstate commercials) will lead a tribute to the memory of Gen. Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.). For more than a quarter century, Powell was an important part of this concert, sharing his thoughts about the meaning of Memorial Day with viewers and reminding the nation of the sacrifices made by men and women in defense of American liberty.
Generations of Service
Actor Gil Birmingham ("Yellowstone," "Wind River") will pay tribute to the more than 58,000 American lives lost in the Vietnam War and honor those who served during the Vietnam era by sharing the story of combat medic Francis Whitebird, a young warrior from a Lakota family with generations of military service.
Whitebird's uncle fought in World War I, his father was a Lakota Code Talker during World War II, and both his sons served in the Iraq War. During his two tours in Vietnam, Whitebird received a Purple Heart and forged lifetime bonds of friendship.
Honoring Gold Star Families
Actress Jean Smart ("Hacks," "Mare of Easttown") and Mantegna will pay tribute to the fallen through the story of Maj. Gen. Mark Graham, USA (Ret.) and his wife, Carol. In less than eight months, the couple suffered the loss of their two sons. 2LT Jeff Graham, killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb and senior ROTC cadet Kevin Graham, who lost his battle with depression.
While their sons died fighting different battles, both dedicated their lives to serving their nation. The Grahams share their journey through grief, healing and their decision to spend their lives helping others receive mental health support.
Women in WWII Tribute
Actress Mary McCormack ("The West Wing") will honor the women who have served the nation in uniform and on the home front during World War II. Several of these trailblazing women will take part in the segment.
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