Stars shine for the PBS’ National Memorial Day Concert that airs on Sunday, May 30, 2021, with Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna. This marks the concert’s 32nd performance and the event will stream online. Because of COVID-19, the concert will be pre-taped and will not film live from the Capitol’s West Lawn as is customary. The concert is a time to honor and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation’s freedom. Tributes will pour in from the United States and Washington, D.C. and the show will feature three main segments with many familiar and famous faces.
Tributes consist of personal stories as well as music by the National Symphony Orchestra in addition to the concert’s musical guests.
The three major segments of Sunday’s Memorial Day Concert are as follows according to a PBS press release.
Vietnam Nurses Tribute
Performed by Emmy Award-winning actress Kathy Baker (PICKET FENCES).
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.
20th Anniversary of 9/11 and Gold Star Families
Featuring Emmy Award-winning actor Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire), acclaimed actresses Mary McCormack (West Wing) and Bailee Madison (A Week Away).
This Memorial Day, in a segment hosted by Steve Buscemi, the concert will commemorate the 20 years since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, remembering all those who died that tragic day and in the twenty years since in service to our nation. It was a pivotal time for the country, and many Americans were inspired to join our all-volunteer armed forces. The concert will honor these service members and their families affected by a generation at war and share the poignant story of one Gold Star Family.
70th Anniversary of the Korean War
Portrayed by Emmy Award-winning actor Joe Morton (Scandal)
Now, seventy 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.
The concert will feature appearances from the following military bands.
- The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets
- The U.S. Army Voices and 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
- Service Color Teams provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C.
The following celebrities will appear on the special and Mickey Guyton will sing the National Anthem.
General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret)
- Gladys Knight
- Vince Gill
- Sara Bareilles
- Alan Jackson
- Denyce Graves
- The Four Tops
- Brian d’Arcy James
- The National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly
You may see a preview of the National Memorial Day Concert in the video player below.
Make sure to tune in on May 30, 2021, at 8 p.m. to watch the National Memorial Day Concert streaming on PBS in the video player below.