The National Memorial Day Concert will air May 30 on PBS, hosted by Tony Award-winner Joe Mantegna and Emmy Award-winning actor Gary Sinise.
The concert airs from 8-9:30 p.m. ET, as well as to 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 30 to June 13.
The concert features all-star performances and tributes from Washington, D.C. and around the country honoring all of our American heroes. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional live concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol will not be held. The special pre-taped 90-minute presentation of the 32nd annual concert honors men and women in uniform, their families at home and all those who have given their lives for the country.
A three decades-long tradition, this night takes people back to the real meaning of the holiday through personal stories interwoven with musical performances by the National Symphony Orchestra and guest artists. The 2021 concert will share several stories.
Vietnam Nurses Tribute
This tribute features a performance by Emmy Award-winning actress Kathy Baker.
The concert will honor the more than 265,000 women who served during the Vietnam War era and pay special tribute to the sacrifice and heroism of the nurses who served in Vietnam, saving thousands of lives and comforting the dying in their final moments. The experiences of Diane Carlson Evans, founder of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington, D.C., will be shared.
70th Anniversary of the Korean War
The features an appearance by actor Joe Morton.
Now, 70 years after the Korean War, the concert will pay tribute to the more than 1.7 million Americans sent to fight in this brutal conflict, and the over 36,000 American lives lost. No group exemplified the courage and heroism of our fighting forces more than the 2nd Ranger Infantry Company. Taking on dangerous assignments, serving with distinction and honor, this elite Airborne unit was the Army’s only all-black Ranger Infantry Company. On the cusp of our military’s integration, these trailblazing heroes changed attitudes, and opened possibilities for all African American men and women in uniform.
20th Anniversary of 9/11 and Gold Star Families
This features appearances by actor Steve Buscemi and actresses Mary McCormack and Bailee Madison.
This Memorial Day, in a segment hosted by Steve Buscemi, the concert will commemorate the 20 years since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The event will honor all those who died that tragic day and in the 20 years since in service to the nation. Many Americans joined the all-volunteer armed forces. The concert will honor these service members and their families affected by a generation at war. The event will share the poignant story of one Gold Star Family.
Following the horrific 9/11 attacks, Joseph Phaneuf II was inspired to rejoin the National Guard. He soon deployed to Iraq and then Afghanistan. After five years of service, Phaneuf died in December 2006, of injuries suffered when an IED detonated near his Humvee. Left to grieve were his wife Michele, a son and two young daughters. Since his untimely passing, Michele and Jordan, who was only 9 at the time, remember him and the sacrifices he gave for his country.
America’s national night of remembrance features: Army Veteran Colin L. Powell; singers Gladys Knight, Vince Gill, Sara Bareilles, Alan Jackson, Denyce Graves and The Four Tops; actor Brian d’Arcy James; the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly; a new special edition of annual audience favorite Salute to Services with the Joint Chiefs of Staff from the Pentagon; and a special message from Gen. Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Country music star and Grammy-nominee Mickey Guyton will open the show with a special performance of the national anthem.
Also participating are members from the Army, Navy and Air Force bands, and Service Color Teams provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C.