The military community is well aware of the true meaning of Memorial Day. It’s a day to honor our nation’s fallen heroes…those who gave their lives to save ours.
That’s why celebrities from all walks of life flew to our nation’s capital to take part in PBS’s 29th National Memorial Day Concert, airing 8pm (and in some regions again at 930) tonight, Sunday May 27.
Military Spouse was asked to cover the rehearsal yesterday, where we were able to interview some of the presenters and performers who were participating. Joined by fellow influencers from the military community such as: the National Military Family Association, NextGen Milspouse and Milspouse Creative, we not only learned about each of THEIR stories, but they learned about OUR stories as well.
One of the most touching moments of the program was the personal stories of Joe Annello (played by John Corbett – My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura (played by Brian Tee – Chicago Med). These two battle-buddies helped each other survive combat and both endured unimaginable horrors when they were taken as POWs. Their stories deviate when they were separated and both lived out their lives thinking the other had perished. It wasn’t until Joe saw Hershey on TV receiving the Medal of Honor from President Eisenhower that they finally reunited in an emotional embrace.
Another notable moment for all of us was getting to meet Allison Janney and Mary McCormack (both stars of the hit TV series West Wing, among other things). In addition to being amazing actresses, these women are both staunch supporters of our military and veteran communities. Both are ambassadors for Justice for Vets, a nonprofit dedicate to transforming the way the justice system identifies, assesses and treats our veterans.
Janney spoke about her great-uncle who lost his life in WWII at the age of 27. “I feel like I’m honoring him somehow, too, by being here.” McCormack, who I met at last year’s PBS National Memorial Day Concert, is actually a military brat herself; as her father served in the Marine Corps “back in the day” (Once a Marine, ALWAYS a Marine….Semper Fi Mary!). Both women will be doing segments paying tribute to our nation’s female heroes in uniform to mark the 70th anniversary of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act.
Other notable presenters and performers this evening will include: hosts Gary Sinise, Joe Mantegna & General Colin Powell, Graham Greene (Dances with Wolves), British singing sensation Leona Lewis, the Lt Dan Band, Spensha Baker (The Voice contestant and military brat of TWO service members as well), and many more!
This Memorial Day, we ask you to remember our nation’s fallen service men and women, and join us in paying tribute to the sacrifice they, and their families have made. Whether you’re looking for a way to beat the heat or were rained out of your long-weekend plans, tune in to PBS at 8:00 p.m. this evening for a star-studded line-up and that’s sure to hit you right in the feels! #MemDayPBS