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"This was a wonderful presentation! While we all want to listen to the music and celebrate happy times, it's necessary to hear the letters, the reminiscences and the horror stories of war. My heart goes out to all the disabled veterans as well as to those who have lost loved ones."

Peggy Anderson

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The 2006 “National Memorial Day Concert”

Notable moments from the 2006 National Memoral Day Concert Notable moments from the 2006 National Memoral Day Concert

The 2006 concert focused on three major themes: honoring the contributions of the “citizen soldiers” serving in the National Guard, paying tribute to the brave pilots who flew with the Air Force during World War II – including the more than 90,000 combat casualties and 30,000 lives lost – and making a call to the nation to support our troops in caring and practical ways.  Acclaimed actors and show co-hosts Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna led a cast featuring General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.), country music sensation Lee Ann Womack, Academy Award-winning actress Dianne Wiest, distinguished actor Charles Durning, country music sensations Big & Rich and beloved opera singer Frederica von Stade, America’s beloved tenor Daniel Rodriguez, actor and singer John Schneider, joined by the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Erich Kunzel

The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff  played a special role in the concert along with a Joint Armed Forces Color Guard and color guard teams from each branch of the armed services, provided by the Military District of Washington, the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, U.S. Army Chorus and U.S. Army Chorale, the U.S Navy Sea Chanters and the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants.

Notable moments from the 2006 National Memoral Day ConcertCitizen Soldiers:  The National Guard
The National Guard — the oldest component of the U.S. Armed Forces and one of the nation’s longest enduring institutions — celebrated its 370th birthday in 2006.  On our 2006 show we paid special tribute to the “citizen soldiers” serving in the National Guard, and recognized the impact that their service and sacrifice has had on their families at home.  We featured the story of Sgt. James Scaruffi and the brave soldiers from Houma, Louisiana’s National Guard unit the “Black Sheep” and the story of Ann Comeaux, whose son was lost from that unit.

Read more on this story and learn about the National Guard.

Notable moments from the 2006 National Memoral Day ConcertAir Force Pilots of WWII
On the eve of the 60th anniversary of the United States Air Force, the 2006 “National Memorial Day Concert” paid tribute to the brave pilots of World War II who fought in the European theatre — particularly those who were captured as POWs. The show featured the story of Second Lt. Corbin Willis, Jr., who flew on 22 dangerous B-17 missions during World War II as a 21-year-old co-pilot and before being shot down.  After enduring months of hardship in overcrowded Germany POW camps, Lt. Willis returned home to a family that thought he was dead. 

Read more about that story, the Museum of the United States Air Force and the Library of Congress Veteran’s History Project.

Notable moments from the 2006 National Memoral Day ConcertA Time For Unity
Gen. Colin Powell USA (Ret.) shared his thoughts on Memorial Day then and now — and how the holiday’s deeper meaning continues to inspire us as we struggle for ways to heal at a time when “there is immediacy to our sorrow” and “the wounds of war are new again.”  Our 2006 website also shared some of the many practical things citizens can do to support the troops.

Read more.

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