This is the third year I’ve been able to cover the rehearsal for PBS’s multi award-winning National Memorial Day Concert, and it did not disappoint! A star-studded cast of actors, singers, and song-writers will grace the stage tonight, for the 30th Anniversary special, where they will pay tribute to Gold Star families in America’s Night of Remembrance,
My fellow military spouse writers watched in awe as co-hosts Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds) and Mary McCormack (West Wing; The Kids are Alright) introduced each segment; and the performances that followed pulled at our heart-strings in ways only military spouses could understand sometimes.
Notable performers include: Sam Elliott, Patti LaBelle, Gavin DeGraw, Dennis Haysbert, Alison Krauss, Christopher Jackson, Amber Riley, Justin Moore, and so many more!
One performance in particular stuck with me throughout the day. Actress Jaina Lee Ortiz (Station 19) portrays “A Gold Star Window’s Journey” in the voice of Gold Star wife Ursula Palmer. Ortiz’s performance felt so much like a first-hand account into the worst day Of Ursula Palmer’s life; to which we all had a front row seat. The story was told with such raw emotion, we literally felt we were watching her story unfold in front of us. In fact, Ursula Palmer’s story is so powerful, Ortiz was actually forced to take a few minutes to gain her own composure.
It was a long day, but absolutely worth seeing first hand exactly how PBS will be honoring our fallen this year. As we met and spoke with each performer, we knew they would do right by our ‘born into, sworn into, married into’ families. Watch the 2019 National Memorial Day Concert live from the West Lawn of the Capitol tonight at 8:00pm ET.
This year, I believe, will hit everyone right in the feels. #MEMDAYPBS
By MJ Boice for the National Military Family Association