2018 National Memorial Day Concert
An American Tradition Honoring Our Heroes
On the 150th anniversary of Memorial Day, PBS’ multi- award-winning National Memorial Day Concert returns live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, hosted by Tony Award-winner Joe Mantegna and Emmy Award-winner Gary Sinise. The 29th annual broadcast airs before a concert audience of hundreds of thousands, millions more at home, and, on the American Forces Network, to our troops serving around the world.
PBS North Sunday, May 27, 7pm and 8:30pm
PBS Explore Sunday, May 27, 10pm and 11:30pm
2018 marks the 150th anniversary of Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, which was first commemorated at Arlington National Cemetery. The concert broadcast, a 29-year tradition unlike anything else on television, is America’s national night of remembrance taking us back to the real meaning of this holiday through personal stories interwoven with musical performances. This year’s program features the following stories:
The show will recognize the story of two buddies—Joe Annello and Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura—dear friends now for 68 years, who helped each other survive deadly combat during the Korean War, endured the unimaginable as POWs, and became American heroes—one receiving the Silver Star and the other the Medal of Honor. This national moment of remembrance will recognize our Korean War veterans with performances by Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award-nominated actor John Corbett (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and star of “Chicago Med” Brian Tee.
Women have served our nation in times of war and peace since our country’s founding—even before they were officially allowed to enlist. To mark the 70th anniversary of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, the concert will pay tribute to the contributions of women in our military throughout history, including the story of Silver Star recipient Leigh Ann Hester, the first woman to receive the Silver Star for combat. The segment will conclude by honoring women representing generations of service since WWII, from the five branches of the military, on stage. Academy Award®, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning actress Allison Janney (I, Tonya, “Mom,” “The West Wing”) and Tony-nominated actress and star of TV’s “Falling Water,” “The West Wing” and “Loaded,” Mary McCormack will participate in this segment.
This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Khe Sanh, one of the fiercest battles of the Vietnam War. The show will feature the story of Purple Heart recipient Bill Rider, who was part of the battalion known as “The Walking Dead.” Bill’s story will focus on his return home to fight a different war … that of post-traumatic stress. As part of his healing process, Bill found a way to pay it forward by dedicating his life to helping generations of service men and women who have experienced the trauma of war. Bill’s story will be told by Academy Award-nominated actor Graham Greene (Dances With Wolves, Wind River).