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PBS’s 2011 National Memorial Day Concert: Featuring a Special Commemoration of 9/11 Live From the U.S. Capitol


Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna Co-Host A Night of Remembrance with General Colin Powell, Pia Toscano, Forest Whitaker, Kris Allen, Dianne Wiest, B.B. King, Jason Ritter, A.J. Cook, Hayley Westenra, Daniel Rodriguez, Yolanda Adams and the National Symphony Orchestra

PBSWashington, D.C. – Nearly 10 years after the events of 9/11 and the terrorist attacks orchestrated by Osama bin Laden, our nation is experiencing a renewed sense of national unity. The 2011 National Memorial Day Concert will open with a special segment remembering those who lost their lives that day, and their loved ones, and commemorating the heroism of the firefighters and police officers who first responded.

The multi award-winning event will also continue its two decades long tradition of honoring the service and sacrifice of all our men and women in uniform who have protected us, their families at home and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  The National Memorial Day Concert will be co-hosted for the sixth 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 veteran’s causes and to supporting our troops in active service.

"American Idol" 2009 winner Kris Allen with 2011 AI finalist Pia Toscano at a rehearsal for the "National Memorial Day Concert," which airs live on PBS at 7:00pm from the west lawn of the Capitol.  (Capital Concerts, Bill Fitzpatrick)

"American Idol" 2009 winner Kris Allen with 2011 AI finalist Pia Toscano at a rehearsal for the "National Memorial Day Concert," which airs live on PBS at 7:00pm from the west lawn of the Capitol. (Capital Concerts, Bill Fitzpatrick)

The all-star line-up of dignitaries, actors and musical artists participating in the 22nd annual broadcast includes: distinguished American leader Colin L. Powell USA (Ret.); American Idol finalist Pia Toscano ; Academy, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker ; American Idol winner Kris Allen ; two-time Academy and Emmy Award-winning actress Dianne Wiest ; King of the Blues B.B. King ; acclaimed actors Jason Ritter and A. J. Cook ; classical superstar Hayley Westenra; America’s beloved tenor Daniel Rodriguez ; the New York city policeman who united the country after the September 11th terrorist attacks; and gospel legend Yolanda Adams. They will perform with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly (additional talent to be announced). 

Consistently one of the highest rated programs on PBS over the past decade, The National Memorial Day Concert became the number four top-rated program in primetime and the number two top-rated musical performance special on PBS for the 2009-2010 season. 

The event, broadcast live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, will air live in HD on PBS Sunday, May 29th from 7:00pm to 8:30pm CT before a concert audience of hundreds of thousands, millions more at home, as well as to our troops serving around the world on the American Forces Network. 

In addition to the 9/11 commemoration, the 2011 event will include:

  • A special thank you to our troops who have been serving in Iraq by General Colin Powell;
  • The poignant story of a woman who lost her father in Vietnam and how her experiences are helping a new generation of children who have suffered the same loss after their parents served in Iraq and Afghanistan; and
  • A tribute to our World War II veterans 70 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

“They are our sons and daughters; husbands, friends and sweethearts,” said General Colin Powell. “We honor the sacrifices each of them has made for us; and we respect the deep sacrifices their families have also made. They are the spirit – and the strength – of America.”

The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff will also participate 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 U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants, the Armed Forces Color Guard and Service Color Teams provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C.




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