Plans are changing every day, but the National Memorial Day Concert will come off as scheduled on Sunday, May 24 from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. E.T. on PBS. Of course the current pandemic has required some changes, so Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna will host a special television event that pays tribute to America without the risks brought by a public gathering on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.
This marks the 31st year for the concert held to honor and remember our troops, veterans, wounded warriors and those who have sacrificed their lives in service and their families. It's become a beloved tradition and the organizers were determined to find a way for this year's event to move forward.
This year also marks the return of Lt. Dan. In 2019, Gary Sinise had to cancel his Washington, D.C. appearances for Memorial Day less than two weeks before a National Mall screening of “Forrest Gump” in celebration of the movie’s 25th anniversary and the concert two days later. No reason was given but everyone will be glad to see him back on board this year.
Related: A Visit with Gary Sinise: Memorial Day, Lt. Dan and Why He's a Grateful American
The special will feature a host of prominent personalities in performances and tributes currently being filmed around the country. In addition to the longtime co-hosts Sinise and Mantegna, the program will feature many returning guests and a few high-profile first timers.
The full list of performers includes:
- General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret)
- Singer and actor Cynthia Erivo, a Tony, Emmy, and Grammy winner and two-time Oscar nominee
- Opera singer Renée Fleming, a soprano and world-renowned four-time Grammy Award-winner
- Actor and Academy Award-nominee Sam Elliott
- Actor Laurence Fishburne, Oscar nominee and Emmy and Tony-Award winner
- Trace Adkins, country music star and Grammy-nominated member of the Grand Ole Opry
- Actor and Tony Award-nominee Mary McCormack
- Actor Esai Morales
- Gospel legend and Grammy Award-winner CeCe Winans
- Broadway star and Tony Award-winner Kelli O'Hara
- The National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly
The show will feature a special message from General Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Broadway and television star Christopher Jackson will open the show with a special performance of the "National Anthem."
Guests will offer the usual messages from prominent guest artists of thanks and support for active-duty military, National Guard and Reserve and their families, veterans and Gold Star families. During our time of crisis, they'll also chime in with words in support of first responders, doctors, nurses, grocery clerks, truck drivers, postal workers and everyone else on the front lines who's putting their lives at risk in the fight against COVID-19.
The National Memorial Day Concert will air on PBS Sunday, May 24, 2020, from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. E.T., as well as to our 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 24 to June 7, 2020.
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