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sightsandsounds

"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
NH

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The 2009 “National Memorial Day Concert”

There were three special features on the 2009 Concert.

Dianne Weist and Katie HolmesAcclaimed actresses Dianne Wiest and Katie Holmes paid tribute to the sacrifices, suffering and love of the thousands of family members caring for veterans severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Laurence FishburneLaurence Fishburne honored Abraham Lincoln's legacy of reaching out "to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan ."

Bugler We commemorated the 20th anniversary of the “National Memorial Day Concert”, the talented performers and the entire community of Americans.

The program was co-hosted for the third year by Emmy Award-winner Gary Sinise (“CSI: New York”) and Tony Award-winner Joe Mantegna (“Criminal Minds”), two acclaimed actors who have dedicated themselves to veterans’ causes and to supporting troops in active service. The rest of the cast included distinguished American leaderColin L. Powell USA (Ret.); double Academy Award-winning actress Dianne Wiest; singer Katharine McPhee (“American Idol”); country music superstar Trace Adkins; Tony Award-winning Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell; celebrated Broadway star Colm Wilkinson (“Les Misérables,” “The Phantom of the Opera”); acclaimed opera star Denyce Graves; classical music superstar Lang Lang; and Grammy nominated violin virtuoso Robert McDuffie in performance with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of maestro Erich Kunzel, recipient of the National Medal of Arts. The U.S Joint Chiefs of Staff participated in the event along with The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, The U.S. Army Chorus, The Soldiers Chorus of the U.S. Army Field Band, The U.S. Navy Sea Chanters, the Armed Forces Color Guard and Service Color Teams provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C.

Families of Disabled Vets
Elizabeth, Jose and Nellie Co-host Gary Sinise and acclaimed actresses Dianne Wiest and Katie Holmes paid tribute to our wounded American heroes and honored the sacrifices of their families, as they shared the story of Staff Sergeant José Pequeño, his mother Nellie Bagley and his sister Elizabeth. José lost the bottom two lobes of the left side of his brain when an insurgent tossed a grenade into his Humvee. Doctors held out very little hope for his recovery however, his mother Nellie and sister Elizabeth went immediately to his side and remain there over four years later. Read more about this inspiring story.

Lincoln's Legacy
Co-host Joe Mantega, award-winning actor Laurence Fishburne, acclaimed opera singer Denyce Graves and the National Symphony Orchestra paid tribute to Abraham Lincoln and his legacy. On March 4, 1865, the day of Abraham Lincoln’s second inauguration, fully half of the crowd was African-American -- freed slaves. In his short speech, the re-elected President focused not on victory, but on compassion:

President Lincoln

Military widows at the AWP Winter Get-away in Florida.

“With malice toward none, with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, 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 – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”

Our 20th Anniversary
2009 was a special year for the “National Memorial Day Concert”, as we commemorated the 20th anniversary of the broadcast – two decades of gathering together – in what has become a memorial service for our entire nation.

President LincolnLearn more about the history of the “National Memorial Day Concert”.

 

 

 

 

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