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National Memorial Day Concert 2009

Airs Sunday, May 24, 2009 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Maestro Erich Kunzel conducts the National Symphony Orchestra before a crowd ...

Credit: Capital Concerts

Above: Maestro Erich Kunzel conducts the National Symphony Orchestra before a crowd of thousands attending the National Memorial Day concert at the U.S. Capitol.

During Memorial Day weekend, PBS will unite the nation with an evening that has become an American tradition. The multi-award-winning "National Memorial Day Concert" honors the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, their families at home and all those who have given their lives for our country. The 2009 event commemorates 20 years on air as the nation’s memorial service, offering viewers a time to remember, heal and bring our country together.

The program is co-hosted for the fourth 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 veterans’ causes and supporting our troops in active service. The top-rated show will be broadcast live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol before an expected audience of hundreds of thousands, millions more at home and, through the American Forces Radio and Television Network, troops serving around the world. The concert features uplifting musical performances, documentary footage and dramatic readings that honor all Americans who have served or made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Joining co-hosts Sinise and Mantegna is an all-star line-up of dignitaries, actors and musical artists including distinguished American leader Colin L. Powell; renowned film, television and stage actress Katie Holmes; Emmy award-winning actor Laurence Fishburne; double Academy Award-winning actress Dianne Wiest; recording artist and actress Katharine McPhee; country music superstar Trace Adkins; Tony Award-winning Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell; celebrated Broadway star Colm Wilkinson ("Les Misérables," "The Phantom of the Opera"); acclaimed opera star Denyce Graves; classical music superstar Lang Lang, named one of the 2009 TIME 100 (Time magazine); and Grammy-nominated violin virtuoso Robert McDuffie in performance with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of maestro Erich Kunzel, recipient of the National Medal of Arts.

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