Tonight PBS put the public back into broadcasting with a crowd pleasing Memorial Day Concert that brought both tears and cheers from the capacity crowd attending the 25th Anniversary edition of the Capitol Concerts Memorial Day Concert that was picture perfect in both the performance of the legendary stars and the honor brought to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces.
The United States Capitol Police have become so efficient at moving the massive crowd through the screening process that the wait time was less than ordering the rush hour special at McDonald’s after the gates officially opened.
The hosts of the program, Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna were picture perfect as hosts of this year’s tributes both giving Emmy worthy performances as they provided recreations and remembrances that gave the hundreds of thousands in attendance pause to remember why Memorial Day is a national tradition on PBS.
The concert was broadcast live on PBS from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol and showed inspiring footage from Afghanistan that showed how a soldier’s life in danger every second on the field and the terrifying experience of landing on the beaches Normandy. As Television star Gerald McRaney provided the narration to the film with actual World War II veterans from the Normandy landing on stage behind him. The service and sacrifice of the service men was as clear and distinct as if it happened yesterday.
The weather cooperated today by giving concert goers almost percent weather for an outdoor event. The clear blue skies and white clouds gave way to a night that was clear and comfortable. Although all of the performances were outstanding the performance of Jenifer Nettles was simply stupendous. Emmy Award winning actress Dianne Wiest brought life, meaning, and realism to her portrayal of a mother who has just learned that her son has made the ultimate sacrifice while serving his nation.
Conductor Jack Everly delivered another fantastic performance as he conducted the National Symphony Orchestra in a beautiful tribute sung by world renowned tenor Anthony Kearns.
However, honoring the service of the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States of America was led with grace and dignity by General Colin Powell as he brought the capacity audience to their feet to remember the men and women who serve today.
The customers of PBS were served well with a concert that as Gary Sinise said, “United the nation,” and brought all Americans together to sing as one voice. A montage of performances over the past 25 years included a virtual who’s who of Hollywood greats who have made the Memorial Day trip to
Washington for a quarter of a century to participate in the Capitol Concert production for PBS.
For a complete list of performers and sponsors for tonight’s concert go to www.pbs.org