“Watching the concert continues to be an integral part of my Memorial Day celebration – a tradition that started over 20 years ago with my Grandmother. We would call each other and ask, “Are you crying yet?”
History of the Concert
Executive Producer Jerry Colbert discusses the purpose of the National Memorial Day Concert.
Over Two Decades Honoring Our Fallen Soldiers,
Our Veterans, Our Service Members and Their Families
In 2013, we commemorate our 24th annual broadcast of the “National Memorial Day Concert” – more than two decades of gathering together – in what has become a memorial service for our entire nation.
We’ve been privileged to welcome many talented artists who have dedicated themselves to creating moving tributes to all our service members. Together with our audience, we have become a true community of support for our troops, reaching out to soldiers, veterans and their families to let them know we care.
Some notable moments include:
Each year viewers send thousands of letters and e-mails in honor of loved ones and friends who have been wounded or died in one of America’s conflicts. These are delivered to the appropriate memorial.
Honorees on the show share their stories of great pain and sacrifice in the hope their experiences will resonate with and pay tribute to others who have sacrificed for our country.
Co-hosts Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise and previous hosts Ossie Davis and E.G. Marshall all had personal connections to veterans’ causes and to supporting troops in active service and Ossie Davis served in WWII from 1942–1945.
“For me, hosting the “National Memorial Day Concert” is a spiritual exercise. The value lies in the reminder of what wars are and what they cost in human terms. We appreciate our heritage a little bit more when we start to consider what it means and what people have paid for it.” Ossie Davis, 2003
11-time host of the
“National Memorial Day Concert”
The Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Joint Chiefs of Staff have been a part of every Concert, offering support and perspective to the challenges the veterans face.
Veterans share their own moving stories with us in an attempt to help the country better understand their motivation and sacrifices and the realities they face.
Our production community at the US Capitol site dedicate themselves to the cause as well, working to ensure the best possible experience for honorees, performers, audience members and viewers at home. Many of the production staff, veterans of years of network television series and specials, call the Concert “the most meaningful” production they do all year long.
Since 1989, the producers of the multi award-winning event have been privileged to welcome acclaimed stars from the stage, screen and music worlds – from Tom Hanks, Katie Holmes, George Clooney, Forest Whitaker, Jimmy Smits, Richard Dreyfuss, Kathy Bates, Laurence Fishburne, Dianne Wiest and Natalie Cole to Gladys Knight, B.B. King, Martina McBride, Vanessa Williams, Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss, Pia Toscano, Daughtry, Jessica Sanchez and Katherine Jenkins and the virtuosic National Symphony Orchestra to mention only a few.
Become a part of the “National Memorial Day Concert” community by sending in a remembrance, sharing your story of service or honoring and supporting our brave service men and women in uniform.