National memorial day concert

Memorial Day on the Mall: Forrest Gump on Friday, National Concert on Sunday

WASHINGTON: This summer marks 25 years since the release of “Forrest Gump.” tThe Oscar-winning Best Picture introduced the world to Lt. Dan Taylor (Gary Sinise). Paramount Pictures will mark the anniversary with a free movie screening on Memorial Day weekend on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The free screening will take place on Friday, May 24, at 8:00 pm. The event will be held between 10th and 12th Streets, with spots on the lawn available on a first-come, first served basis.

Myth Trivia pays tribute to Memorial Day 2019 with a look at its history

According to reports, the first 500 attendees will receive a free blanket and the first 1,000 can enjoy free popcorn. Fans can also take photos on a replica of the film’s famous bench.

Sammy L. Davis, the Medal of Honor recipient known as “The Real Forrest Gump,” will make an appearance at the event. Davis was recognized for his bravery during a night long firefight at Cai Lay on Nov. 18, 1967.

Footage from his Medal of Honor ceremony is seen in “Forrest Gump.” Special effects wizards put Tom Hanks’ head on Davis’ body to create the illusion that President Lyndon Johnson was placing a Medal of Honor around Forrest Gump’s neck.

National Memorial Day Concert

Gary Sinise, the actor who created Lt. Dan and a beloved supporter of the military community, won’t be there in person because he will be preparing to host the National Memorial Day Concert on Sunday, May 26 starting at 8:00 pm ET. The event will air live on PBS stations around the country.

The Gary Sienese Foundation – Dedicated to America’s Veterans

Mr. Sinise has dedicated himself to the warrior men and women through The Gary Sinise Foundation

The Sinise foundation works to provide new smart homes to wounded vets as well as create events such as the 16th Soaring Valor trip. The 2019 Soaring Valor event brought 41 World War II veterans and 40 students from Archbishop McNicholas High School in the Cincinnati, Ohio area together. The group participated in a trip to the New Orleans WWII museum.

Memorial Day: A day to resolve that those
who have died, shall not have died in vain

The three-day trip provided an opportunity for veterans to share their first-hand accounts of the war with a new generation. The foundation also provides a Suicide Prevention hotline for veterans and those that care for them. If you need someone to talk to, call 800-273-8255

If you can’t make it to Washington for this screening, Fathom Events will present two showings a day of “Forrest Gump” on June 23 and 25 in more than 600 cinemas nationwide.
For information and tickets, visit

Paramount releases remastered Forrest Gump for 25th Anniversary

For the 25th anniversary, Paramount is also releasing a newly-remastered Blu-ray + Digital set. This following last year’s 4K UHD release that comes with a second disc filled with over 3 hours of bonus content. Bonus material including a deep dive into the special effects breakthroughs that helped make the film such a success back in 1994.

The National Mall Coalition – Working to save the National Mall

On the National Mall we celebrate who we are as Americans. We celebrate our nation’s founding ideals, and our civic responsibility to understand and champion the principles that sustain our democracy.

Over the past decade, we’ve increasingly seen the visionary plans that created this iconic space trampled. Furthermore, the public’s use is being restricted, and hopes for a resilient future denied by inadequate planning.

The National Mall Coalition works to reverse this trend through historical education, and programming. Working to cultivate ideas that will ensure the Mall’s vitality for future generations. We advocate for a new comprehensive plan for the National Mall, the stage for our democracy, in its 3rd century.


On the eve of Memorial Day, a star-studded lineup graced the stage for the 2019 National Memorial Day Concert. The concert premiered live on Sunday, May 26 at 8 p.m. on CPTV. It will encore on CPTV Spirit on Monday, May 27 at 8 p.m.

In addition, the concert is now available to stream above (please note the concert begins approximately two minutes in).

This multi-award-winning television event has become an American tradition, honoring the military service and sacrifice of all U.S. men and women in uniform, their families at home and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for America.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary year, The National Memorial Day Concert will be hosted by Joe Mantegna and Mary McCormack. The all-star lineup will include distinguished American leader General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.); Grammy-winning legend Patti LaBelle; multi-platinum-selling singer, performer and songwriter Gavin DeGraw; Broadway and television star Christopher Jackson (Hamilton, Bull); multi-Grammy-winning bluegrass icon Alison Krauss; SAG and Olivier Award-winning and Grammy-nominated actress and singer Amber Riley (Glee, Dreamgirls); multi-platinum-selling country music star Justin Moore; and Patrick Lundy & The Ministers of Music, in performance with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly. American Idol Season 17 finalist Alyssa Raghu will join the show for a special performance of the National Anthem.

Also participating in the event will be the U.S Joint Chiefs of Staff with the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, the U.S. Army Chorus and Army Voices, 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.

This year’s concert will feature the following stories:
• 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion – featuring a performance by Academy Award-nominated actor Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born)
• Vietnam Valor and Brotherhood – brought to life by longtime friends, acclaimed actor Dennis Haysbert (24, Major League) and Joe Mantegna
• A Gold Star Widow’s Journey – portrayed by television series star Jaina Lee Ortiz (Station 19, Rosewood)

The concert will also stream live on Facebook, YouTube and at, and will be available as Video on Demand from May 26 to June 9, 2019. For more information on the National Memorial Day Concert, .

Love, Sacrifice and Things Everyone Should Do this weekend

On this episode of VetStory we’ll introduce you to three incredible Americans who will teach us how to do Memorial Day right.

Our first two guests are being honored during the PBS National Memorial Day Concert, live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

Gold Star Wife, Ursula Palmer shares a love story that ended far too soon.

Her late husband SFC Collin Bowen was weeks away from returning home to her and their 3-year-old daughter, Gabriela, when he volunteered for one last mission. Despite the superstition, many service members feel about taking risks right before their tours are over, Collin chose to protect his fellow soldiers because he knew the terrain so much better. Before he left, he charged up his phone and told his wife that every day he would call so she would know he was okay. He kept that promise until January 1, 2008, when Ursula didn’t hear from him. She soon would get the call informing her that he was severely injured and would eventually be by his side for his final days.

Ursula shares the inspiring story of how she was able to find strength, rebuild, and help others.

Today she empowers other Gold Star families through her work with the Gold Star Wives of America, The Snowball Express and helps veterans rediscover joy through golf with Links to Freedom.

Our second guest, Army veteran Ray Lambert shares an epic story about the sacrifices he witnessed on D-Day.


As part of the first wave onto shore, Lambert quickly established a treatment area, saving soldiers, dragging them to safety and comforting the dying as best he could, even while being shot twice himself. He continued his efforts before being seriously wounded. Lambert’s story honors every man who landed on the beaches of Normandy that day.

Gold Star Wife and author Joanne Steen shares insight from her new book, We Regret to Inform You; A Survival Guide for Gold Star Parents and Those Who Support Them.

More than just reminding us about this weekend’s importance, Steen suggests ways everyone can keep the true spirit of Memorial Day alive whether it’s at a public event or a backyard BBQ.

The National Memorial Day Concert airs live on PBS stations, Sunday, May 26, 2019, from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m.

Hosted by Joe Mantegna and Mary McCormack it features General Colin Powell and performances by Sam Elliott, Patti LaBelle, Gavin DeGraw, Dennis Haysbert, Alison Krauss, Christopher Jackson, Amber Riley, Justin Moore, Jaina Lee Ortiz, and the National Symphony Orchestra.

for more information

National Memorial Day Concert 2019: Livestream, Performers, Time

WASHINGTON, DC — The PBS National Memorial Day Concert, set for Sunday, May 26, will honor the nation’s men and women in uniform, as well as their families. The free concert commemorates the 151st anniversary of Memorial Day and will be held on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol from 8 to 9:30 p.m. ET.

Actors Joe Mantegna and Mary McCormack will host the event. Other luminaries taking part include actor Sam Elliott, former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, singer Patti LaBelle, country artist Alison Krauss, “24” and “The Unit” actor Dennis Haysbert, “Bull” and “Hamilton” star Christopher Jackson, singers Amber Riley, Justin Moore, Gavin DeGraw and more.

Performers include: Leona Lewis, the National Symphony Orchestra led by Jack Everly, U.S. Army Chorus and Army Voices, U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters, Soldiers’ Chorus, U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants and more.

The National Memorial Day Concert features performances documentary footage and dramatic readings. This year’s focus will be on the real meaning of the holiday since 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Through the eyes of a highly-decorated combat medic who landed in the first wave on Omaha Beach, the concert will pay tribute to those who sacrificed and died in service to our nation and the world. The concert will share the story of two infantrymen who formed a brotherhood while serving in Vietnam and now meet each year at the Wall. A special 50th anniversary commemoration honors the service and sacrifice of veterans of the Vietnam War.

For Gold Star families, every day is Memorial Day. This year, the concert will share one widow’s journey, beginning with the day her worst fears came true, says PBS. While she could never “move on” from this loss, she knew that for the sake of her daughter she would have to learn to move forward. Along the way, she found solace and empowerment in helping other widows and widowers.

Organizers say the concert unites the country in remembrance and appreciation of those who gave their lives for our nation and serves those who are grieving through the mission put forward by Abraham Lincoln in his second inaugural address, “Let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan.”

Memorial Day had been first known at “Decoration Day” and was commemorated at Arlington National Cemetery.

If You Go
Best spots to watch are via the public entrances to the West Front of the U.S. Capitol:

  • North (Senate) Side of Capitol Square: Third Street NW, and Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • South (House) Side of Capitol Square: Third Street SW, and Maryland Avenue SW
  • General Admission gates typically open at 5 p.m. The public will not be admitted to the West Lawn of the Capitol before that time.

All bags, coolers, backpacks and closed containers will be checked; all guests will have to go through a metal detector.

Prohibited items include:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Glass bottles
  • Animals (other than service animals)
  • Bicycles
  • Firearms and ammunition (either real or simulated)
  • Explosives of any kind (including fireworks)
  • Knives, blades or sharp objects (of any length)
  • Laser pointers
  • Signs
  • Posters
  • Mace and pepper spray, sticks and poles
  • Electric stun guns
  • Martial arts weapons or devices
  • Umbrellas larger than 36 inches in diameter (those smaller than 36″ will be allowed)
  • Pocket or hand tools such as a “Leatherman”
  • Sealed packages, large boxes, duffel bags, suitcases
  • Drones, model rockets, remote or manually-controlled model gliders, model airplanes or unmanned aircrafts, model boats and/or cars and other unmanned ground or aircraft system.

The 2019 National Memorial Day Concert will be live-streamed Sunday night on, YouTube and Facebook.

It’s easy to get lost in the excitement surrounding Memorial Day. Before you prep for your backyard BBQ and bust out your swimsuits for summer, spend some quality time with your family remembering what the holiday is really about: the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for our country. Consider the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS a friendly reminder to pay your respects during your three-day weekend. Now, find out why this spectacle one of the PBS’ highest-rated programs each year — and how you can tune in.

The National Memorial Day Concert airs live on Sunday, May 26 at 8 p.m. on PBS.

Now in its 30th year, this 90-minute event takes you straight from your couch to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol with a mix of dramatic readings from military families and veterans, documentary footage, and of course, standout performances by top artists. The concert special, which seamlessly blends remembrance with celebration, has brought together some of Hollywood’s finest stars throughout the years — Tom Hanks, Allison Janney, and George Clooney, to name a few — and 2019 is no exception.

Mary McCormack and Joe Mantegna are hosting this year’s event.

Mary McCormack and Joe Mantegna with Allison Janney at the 2018 National Memorial Day Concert. Paul MorigiGetty Images

This isn’t the first go-around for either host. Joe Mantegna, who many of us recognize as David Rossi from Criminal Minds, started co-hosting the event with longtime friend Gary Sinise after Ossie Davis passed away in 2005. For the 71-year-old actor, this event is deeply personal because several of his family members have served in the military. His goal as a host is simple: He wants to make everyone at home “come away with a smile and a tear.”

The same rings true for Mary McCormack, who has appeared on the broadcast for the last to years to share the stories of stories of Gold Star families and Silver Star recipients. This year, however, The Kids Are Alright actress is replacing Sinise as Mantegna’s co-host. Even after 30-year career in Hollywood as the actress on The West Wing, In Plain Sight, and other primetime favorites, the 50-year-old says this gig is one of her favorites. “I’ve rarely in my life felt the level of passion and emotion that there is in this celebration,” she said in the show’s official press release. “My father is a Marine and I deeply appreciate what this show does to shine a light on military service.”

Gary Sinise won’t be attending for the first time in 14 years.

Teresa KroegerGetty Images

Sinise, who has involved with the National Memorial Day Concert since 2005, recently announced that he won’t be participating in Sunday night’s event “due to circumstances beyond his control.” Famous for his role as Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump, the actor was first introduced to the PBS special by Mantegna, who invited Sinise’s band to be a part of a segment to highlight USO tours. His experience along with his work in Forrest Gump inspired decades of advocacy work to support the U.S. troops, ultimately leading him to start the Gary Sinise Foundation.

American Idol semi-finalist Alyssa Raghu is one of the performers.

Eric McCandlessGetty Images

To keep up with tradition, the 90-minute broadcast kicks off with the National Anthem performed by Alyssa Raghu, one of this year’s contestants on American Idol. Other all-star performers and speakers include General Colin L. Powell, Sam Elliot, Patti LaBelle, Gavin DeGraw, Alison Krauss, Dennis Haysbert, Amber Riley, Patrick Lundy & The Ministers of Music, Christopher Jackson, Jaina Lee Ortiz, and Justin Moore.

This year’s show will pay tribute to the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Paul MorigiGetty Images

Before Sinise’s departure from the show, he teased that PBS had plans to commemorate the anniversary of the D-Day landing (a.k.a. the most pivotal day in World War II) with a tribute to World War II veterans. Although the D-Day anniversary isn’t until June 6, the broadcast will honor one of its most notable heroes, Sergeant Ray Lambert.

PBS explains why they are remembering Lambert: “Among those landing on the beaches of Normandy was SGT Ray Lambert. As a medic in the 1st Infantry Division, SGT Lambert participated in some of the fiercest battles of World War II from North Africa to Sicily. Before landing in the first wave at Omaha Beach, SGT Lambert had already been awarded two Silver Stars for bravery and three Purple Hearts.”

The concert will air again directly after the live broadcast.

If you can’t make it to your TV in time, you can also stream the 2019 National Memorial Day Concert on, YouTube, and Facebook. But if you’re too busy crafting your Memorial Day poppies for the upcoming parade and you miss the 8 p.m. broadcast, PBS will replay the entire concert immediately after the initial airing wraps. That means you can catch all of the red, white, and blue magic at 9:30 p.m. — or better yet, stream it at a time that works best for you.

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National Memorial Day Concert fetes 30 years of honoring Armed Forces

A 30-year run speaks to the National Memorial Day Concert’s value in helping America honor members of its Armed Forces, past and present.

Originated by the late Jerry Colbert and now executive-produced by his son Michael, the PBS program marks its three-decade milestone when it airs at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 26, on WTTW.

Chicago native Joe Mantegna (“Criminal Minds”) and former “The West Wing” and “The Kids Are Alright” co-star Mary McCormack will host on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day and saluting Vietnam War veterans while introducing guest actors and musicians.

Among those featured: recent Oscar nominee Sam Elliott (“A Star is Born”) and fellow actors Dennis Haysbert and Jaina Lee Ortiz; singers Patti LaBelle, Alison Krauss and Justin Moore; and singer-actors Amber Riley and Christopher Jackson. General Colin L. Powell (Ret.) is scheduled to make his traditional appearance, and Jack Everly will return to conduct the National Symphony Orchestra.

Also streaming live on the PBS website (, Facebook and YouTube, this year’s National Memorial Day Concert signifies Mantegna’s 18th appearance overall in the event. “It doesn’t seem that long, but I guess the time just goes by,” he reflects. “I initially brought Dennis Haysbert into it a few years ago, and he and I are going to do a piece about two Vietnam buddies.

“Denis Leary also is somebody I brought in, and Bonnie Hunt … and Gary Sinise,” adds Mantegna. “Charlie Durning did that for me, basically bringing me in, and that was a thing I took on. It’s very gratifying for me because so often, the people who do it want to come back.”

Guest performer Elliott has visited Washington before, once for a White House screening of the movie “We Were Soldiers” (in which he co-starred), and another time for an occasion that affected him deeply. On the July Fourth after 9/11, he attended a celebration at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and ended up giving an unplanned speech in which he expressed feeling guilty over having not served in Vietnam. (He had fulfilled his military obligation by serving at home in the Air National Guard.)

Elliott recalls a moment after the speech, standing and talking with a group of veterans next to the wall, when one of them in a wheelchair “looked me right in the eye and said, ‘Two things, Sam: 1.) Don’t ever regret any service you’ve done for your country. And 2.) If I had had an opportunity to join the … Guard, I would have.’ That spoke volumes to me, and it helped me make peace with something that had dogged me for a long time.”

Patti LaBelle, Alison Krauss, Gavin DeGraw headline Memorial Day Concert

toggle audio on and off change volume WTOP’s Jason Fraley previews the Memorial Day Concert (Jason Fraley)

The National Memorial Day Concert returns Sunday night on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, marking the 30th anniversary of what is often PBS’ most-watched show of the year.

This year’s lineup once again combines celebrity performers and families of fallen soldiers.

“It’s the most important thing I do every year,” longtime host Joe Mantegna told WTOP. “It helps educate people to the most important holiday that this country celebrates, because it’s the holiday that allows us to have all of the other holidays. … If not for Memorial Day, there would be no Fourth of July, Veterans Day, Presidents Day, Labor Day, because our country wouldn’t exist. Memorial Day takes on a special significance because it honors those men and women going back to the 1700s who gave up their lives so that we can live the life we live.”

Replacing Gary Sinise as co-host is actress Mary McCormack (“Deep Impact,” “The West Wing”).

“Mary was one of the artists we brought in last year,” Mantegna said. “She was so taken by the experience that she said to us afterward, ‘I’ll come back, I’ll serve coffee, I’ll do wardrobe, I’ll do makeup, I’ll do whatever you want just to be part of this concert again if you need me.’ I remembered that, so when it became apparent last minute that Gary couldn’t come, I said it’s time we have a female co-host. Who better than Mary McCormack who was so passionate?”

McCormack said she was so moved that she was hooked from the second she first attended.

“I couldn’t believe how moving the event is,” McCormack told WTOP. “The entire night is both a celebration and a really truthful honoring of the sacrifice that so many people make. … So then I just basically threw my hat in and said, ‘I’ll do anything, I’ll pull cables, set up seats, anything, I just want to be a part of it.’ I’m lucky enough that this year they needed a host.”

The cause is deeply personal to McCormack, whose father served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

“I definitely grew up feeling a debt of gratitude for people who serve,” McCormack. “You’re sort of raised with that, but this event in particular, it’s so apolitical and nonpartisan, that in this climate right now, that’s even more refreshing. Just to put all that stuff aside to say that this is bigger than that. This is about country, freedom and things much bigger than politics.”

This year’s lineup of performers includes R&B legend Patti LaBelle, pop-rock favorite Gavin DeGraw, bluegrass icon Alison Krauss, country star Justin Moore, “Hamilton” alum Christopher Jackson and “American Idol” finalist Alyssa Raghu, who will perform the national anthem.

“It’s people as far as the eye can see just enjoying the concert and the music,” McCormack said. “It’s a massive production, just a big beautiful stage and lights and incredible music.”

Other celebrity speakers include actors Sam Elliott (“A Star is Born”), Dennis Haysbert (“24”), Amber Riley (“Glee”), Jaina Lee Ortiz (“Rosewood”) and retired U.S. General Colin Powell.

“Sam will be doing the words of a World War II veteran, while Dennis Haysbert and I will be doing a piece about two buddies who survived the Vietnam War,” Mantegna said, to which McCormack added, “They have actors narrate the story either through letters or just an interview with the person who was there. It puts a really personal face on each of these events. I think it’s a really nice way to let people in and let people understand the sacrifice.”

As always, the show will also feature annual performances by the National Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Jack Everly), the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, U.S. Army Voices and Downrange, U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters, U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants, Soldiers’ Chorus, Ministers of Music and patriotic color guard provided by the Military District of Washington.

“There’s just a camaraderie,” McCormack said. “There’s tons of people in their uniforms and Gold Star families, people who have lost someone. Every day is Memorial Day for them, so they get so much comfort from everyone showing up to honor those they’ve lost. There’s veterans, there’s old men and women in uniforms, it’s really just an incredibly moving event.”

Those Gold Stars include widow Ursula Palmer, whose husband Collin Bowen died in 2008.

“My husband volunteered to go to Afghanistan at the end of 2006, then about a year later, two weeks before he was scheduled to come home, he volunteered for one last mission,” Palmer said. “On the way back from that mission, his vehicle got struck by an IED. He was severely injured and survived two and a half months, but unfortunately his injuries were too great.”

She’s since joined Dr. Vivianne Wersel to co-found the Arlington Chapter of Gold Star Wives.

“This chapter was born to fulfill the needs of a new generation of post-9/11 widows,” Palmer said. “A lot of us were younger with small children, so Dr. Wersel asked me if I would go along and co-found the chapter, which of course I immediately did. I found that being the one who provides help instead of continuing to be the one who receives help, is very fulfilling and very empowering. It not only helps our members, our widows, it also helps me continue to heal.”

Palmer wants Americans to remember the real reason they’re able to enjoy their weekend.

“It doesn’t bother me when people say, ‘Happy Memorial Day,’” Palmer said. “My husband died so we could continue our way of life. If that way of life means that we can have a cookout on Memorial Day, that’s OK. The only thing we should remember is the reason we’re able to have that cookout, be among friends and have a wonderful weekend to rest from work.”

In addition to broadcasting nationwide on PBS, the event will air to troops around the world on the American Forces Network, as well as streaming on Facebook, YouTube and online.

“I don’t think it’s asking too much that on a three-day weekend where you’re barbecuing and watching the Indy 500 to carve out 90 minutes, watch the program, see all of these stories and all of these songs. … You’ll see 200,000 people on a good night live on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. We’re expecting nice weather, so we should have a quarter of a million people sitting on the lawn watching us. If you’ve never seen it, it’s awe-inspiring. If you have seen it, our return viewers are almost 100 percent. That’s why I’ve been doing it for 18 years.”

Find more details on the website. Hear our full chats with Mantegna, McCormack & Palmer below:

toggle audio on and off change volume WTOP’s Jason Fraley chats with Joe Mantegna (Full Interview) (Jason Fraley) toggle audio on and off change volume WTOP’s Jason Fraley chats with Mary McCormack (Full Interview) (Jason Fraley) toggle audio on and off change volume WTOP’s Jason Fraley chats with Ursula Palmer (Full Interview) (Jason Fraley)

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