The National Memorial Day Concert in Washington honors those who have served in the military, their families, and those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. It's broadcast on live on PBS and the American Forces Radio and Television Network for those serving around the world in 175 countries and aboard 200 Navy ships at sea. It will also be live-streamed on PGS.org, Facebook, and YouTube.
The concert, performed by the National Symphony Orchestra, features a mix of dramatic readings, documentary footage, and live musical performances, along with an all-star line-up of dignitaries, actors, and musical artists.
This free annual event (no tickets are required) is held on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building and kicks off the summer season in the nation's capital at 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 27, 2018. Gates open at 5 p.m.; all must enter through a metal detector, and all bags will be checked. The concert airs live on PBS across the country from 8 to 9:30 p.m. EDT.
How to Get There
The best way to get to the Capitol is to take the Metro since traffic will be heavy, some streets will be closed, and parking limited. The closest Metro stations to the concert site are Federal Center SW (Orange and Blue Line) and Union Station (Red Line). Access to the concert is located at the southwest corner of the Capitol grounds. There are two public entrances to the West Lawn of the Capitol: the north (Senate) side of Capitol Square at Third Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, and the south (House) side of Capitol Square at Third Street SW and Maryland Avenue SW.
Memorial Day 2018 Highlights
The concert honors all who have served, and each year it shines a spotlight on a handful of notable military members. In 2018, the lights will shine on Joe Annello and Hiroshi "Hershey" Miyamura, who served together in combat in the Korean War and then were POWs. Their bond remains strong, and they have stayed friends for the 68 years since.
The concert will also honor women who have served in the military as part of a tribute to the 70th anniversary of the Women's Armed Services Integration Act and mark the service of Leigh Ann Hester, the first woman to receive the Silver Star.
In addition, the concert takes note of the Battle of Khe Sanh, which was 50 years ago, and former Marine Bill Rider, who was part of the Marine battalion known as "The Walking Dead." Rider has dedicated his life to helping generations of members of the military who have experienced the horror of combat.
Gen. Colin Powell will be featured at the concert, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff will also attend, along with various military bands and choruses. Celebrities who will perform at the 2018 concert are actress Allison Janey, singer Leona Lewis, actor Graham Greene, actress Mary McCormack, actor John Corbett, actor Brian Tee, country singer Charles Esten, actress Cynthia Erivo, actress Megan Hilty, singer Alfie Boe, and Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band.