PBS’s multi award-winning National Memorial Day Concert returns live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for a special 30th anniversary broadcast hosted by Tony Award-winner Joe Mantegna. The 30th annual broadcast of the concert airs live on PBS Sunday, May 26, 2019, from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m., before a concert audience of hundreds of thousands, millions more at home, as well as to our troops serving around the world on the American Forces Network.

A 30-year tradition unlike anything else on television, America’s national night of remembrance takes us back to the real meaning of the holiday through personal stories interwoven with musical performances by the National Symphony Orchestra and guest artists.

The 2019 anniversary edition of the concert will feature Vietnam Valor and Brotherhood – brought to life by long-time friends acclaimed actor Dennis Haysbert (24, MAJOR LEAGUE) and Joe Mantegna.

Fifty years since the height of the Vietnam War, the painful memories from their service remain fresh for many of its veterans. In 1969, our soldiers continued to fulfill their duty and carry out the missions their country asked of them. As part of a special 50th anniversary commemoration to honor the service and sacrifice of Vietnam War veterans and to thank them, the concert will share the story of two infantrymen – Ernest “Pete” Peterson (Haysbert) and Brad Kennedy (Mantegna) – who formed a brotherhood while serving in Vietnam and now meet each year at the Vietnam Wall where they remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Other features include the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion – featuring a performance by Academy Award-nominated actor Sam Elliott (A STAR IS BORN) and A Gold Star Widow’s Journey – portrayed by television series star Jaina Lee Ortiz (STATION 19, ROSEWOOD).
For Gold Star families, every day is Memorial Day. This year, the concert will share the journey of one widow – Ursula Palmer (Ortiz) – beginning with the day her worst fears came true, just two weeks before her husband was due to return home. While “moving on” from this devastating loss was not possible, Palmer knew that for the sake of her daughter she would have to learn to move forward. Along the way she found solace and empowerment by co-founding a new chapter of Gold Star Wives, a virtual chapter for post 9/11 widows and widowers, and by helping wounded veterans and their families.

The all-star line-up also includes: distinguished American leader General Colin L. Powell USA (Ret.); Grammy Award-winning legend Patti LaBelle; multi-platinum selling singer, performer and songwriter Gavin DeGraw; Broadway and television star Christopher Jackson (HAMILTON, BULL); multi-Grammy Award-winning bluegrass icon Alison Krauss; SAG and Olivier Award-winning and Grammy Award-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 (additional performers to be announced). The 2019 National Memorial Day Concert will share Lambert’s story of bravery and pay tribute to heroes who sacrificed and died in service to our nation and the world.

Share this story

Published on May. 23, 2019

Estimated reading time is 2.6 min.

Views to date: 112


  1. Jimmy F Carver May 25, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    I enlisted in sep’ 1968 and given the opportunity would do the same thing again. I only wish my family friends and nation had united to support me as they have now. Not sour grapes.

  2. Lisa Gathright May 25, 2019 at 5:27 am

    Can’t wait to watch

  3. David V Barrett May 24, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    They don’t know what it was like 1967, There were no stalls between shtters, You would be eyeball to eyeball with the soldier setting in the other row of shtters. Today’s youth wouldn’t last a day in the boot camps of this time. There was nothing fair about the way you were treated, Just yes sir no sir, sleep deprivation, SHOOT MOVE AND COMMUNICATE. Trained to survive and kill. You were of no value to your brothers dead. Training Training Training. I did a 21 year hitch with the US Army. Our Military does everything. From Flying satellites, too things beyond imagination. Being best at the things you did was a great honor.I spent my last three years in the Military, Working with the Inspector General. A job that is just not given to you. It means maxing your skill qualifications test (SQT), It means having a Top Secret Security Clearance. I means working with Nuces, It means Cuban Refugee Resettlement (Ft McCoy, WI.) It means being medivact’d out of Viet Nam. It means PTSD and ending up trying to kill yourself. OUR SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN ARE THE BEST. GO TO A VETERANS HOSPITAL VISIT THE AIR FORCE CAPTAIN DYING FROM M/S, SOLDIERS SO BADLY WOUNDED, LIKE THE SOLDIER 16 DAY IN VIETNAM, WATCHING ALL THOSE AROUND HIM BEING KILLED, AND LYING WOUNDED ON A BATTLEFIELD FOR THREE DAYS, NOW IN A VA HOSPITAL FUNCTIONING THE BEST HE CAN WITH CEREBRAL DAMAGE YOU WOULDN’T BELIEVE. YES THEY ARE OUT THERE RIGHT NOW. I WAS VERY SADDENED TO HEAR, THE YOUNG AIRFORCE CPT (FEMALE) HAD PASSED AWAY. THE LAST I HAD TALKED TO HER SHE WAS COMPLAINING SHE HAD BEEN GIVEN A WRONG MEDICATION WHICH DECREASED HER ABILITY TO MOVE HER RIGHT ARM, SHE WAS WHEEL CHAIR BOUND, I ENJOYED TALKING TO HER, I WOULD LITE HER CIGARETTES AND ENJOYED SMOKING AND TALKING WITH HER, JUST A BEAUTIFUL SOUL. WITH A DEPARTING WORD, I WOULD LIKE TO TELL YOU WHO REALLY RUNS THE PENTAGON. ACRONYM (LOLITS) LITTLE OLD LADIES IN TENNIS SHOES.

  4. RUTH Dickman May 24, 2019 at 11:43 am

    cant wait to watch

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • On the National Day of Service, NCA invites family, friends and volunteers to visit its Veterans Legacy Memorial (VLM) to post photos and tributes.

  • Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Navy Veteran Ming Chang, who was the first naturalized Asian American to reach flag rank in the Navy.

  • Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Franklin Douglas “Doug” Miller, a Green Beret in the Vietnam War who was awarded a Medal of Honor, a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, six Purple Hearts and an Air Medal for his service.