The annual National Memorial Day Concert on PBS will take place on May 24, the Sunday before Memorial Day, albeit with some changes because of the coronavirus.
Actors Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise will host the program to honor military members who died in the line of duty. The program will feature at least a dozen other well-known figures, such as Gen. Colin Powell and gospel singer CeCe Winans, and music by the National Symphony Orchestra.
“We’re excited to announce our 2020 Memorial Day show, airing on Sunday, May 24, 2020, from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. E.T.,” the event organizers announced last month. “Due to coronavirus, we will not host the show from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The show will air on PBS and the Armed Forces Network and will be live streamed on Facebook, YouTube, and our website.”
Due to coronavirus, we will not host the show from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The show will air on PBS and the Armed Forces Network and will be live streamed on Facebook, YouTube, and our website.
— National Memorial Day Concert (@MemorialDayPBS) April 30, 2020
The concert, sponsored by Lockheed Martin, has taken place every year since 1989.
“The concert unites the country in remembrance and appreciation of those who gave their lives for our nation and serves those who are grieving through the mission put forward by Abraham Lincoln in his second inaugural address, ‘Let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan,’” the concert’s page on PBS’s website says.
Sinise is a staunch advocate for military members, veterans, first responders, and their families. His Gary Sinise Foundation, founded in 2011, has built dozens of special smart homes for wounded veterans, distributed hundreds of grants to military and first responder organizations, and most recently delivered thousands of units of protective equipment to healthcare workers combating the coronavirus.
“With the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) across the nation, the Gary Sinise Foundation has launched a dedicated campaign called, Emergency COVID-19 Combat Service, which addresses the needs and priorities of those it is entrusted by the American people to serve and honor, with the addition of healthcare professionals,” the foundation announced last month.
“During this public health crisis, Emergency COVID-19 Combat Service will be the gateway for providing grants to first responders in need of personal protective equipment when answering COVID-19 service calls,” the foundation said. “Financial assistance is also available to healthcare professionals, service members, veterans, first responders, and their families who have been impacted by the novel coronavirus.”
Last year, Sinise celebrated a quarter of a century advocating for injured veterans with the non-profit Disabled American Veterans (DAV). He first partnered with DAV after the group gave him an award for his performance as Lt. Dan in the 1994 film Forrest Gump.
As The Daily Wire reported at the time: “In 2003, as part of his calling to help veterans, Sinise started a rock cover band called the ‘Lt. Dan Band.’ Through performances on military bases around the globe, Sinise hopes to let veterans and active-duty military members know that ‘there are people out there who are aware of, and who understand the importance of keeping our military families strong in difficult times,’ according to an open-letter on the band’s website.”