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National Memorial Day Concert


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7 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Sharkie_Fan

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 10:52 AM

By chance, I happened to notice on our local PBS station the National Memorial Day Concert was showing last night at 2:00 am, so I set it up to record, and the family is watching it this morning.

If your PBS station happens to re-air it, tape it. It really is a touching tribute to the men and women who have lost their lives in defense of our country, as well as those men and women who are still putting themselves in harms way to defend our country.
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#2 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 12:07 PM

That this is not on even one of the "big 4" networks without commercials always disturbs me. It has become particularly disturbing the past few years as we American's need to see the disabled vets of and their families that we are not adequately supporting.

We watch this every year as part of our Memorial Day observance as I noted in the In Memoriam: U.S. Armed Forces 1776 - 2009 thread.

EDIT: Those of you who live in areas that receive more than one PBS station may be able to see this even if you missed it last night. For instance, in the San Francisco Bay Area it will be on KRCB Channel 22 Wednesday at 8:30 pm even thought it has already aired on the primary Bay Area PBS station KQED 9.

Edited by phrelin, 25 May 2009 - 12:21 PM.


#3 OFFLINE   Supramom2000

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 12:38 PM

I watched it live last night and it was wonderful, beautiful and heartwrenching. It also saddens me, Phrelin, that our major networks don't broadcast this.

Throughout the week last week, Glenn Beck, Hucakbee and several other Fox News hosts had military heroes featured on their programs. Some of the heroes were there and others were represented by grieving family members. It is always good to take a moment and remember, give thanks, and pray.

BTW - I did not know that Joe Mantegna was such a devoted supporter of veterans, disabled veterans and the like. It seems he is much like Gary Sinise, and keeps it quiet. Another kind of hero.

I had already donated to The Wounded Warrior Project, Operation Shoebox and Pinups for Vets before watching this beautiful tribute, but after crying my way through most of the broadcast, I had to go on-line and add a few other organizations that send care packages to those who are deployed.

Thanks for sharing this with us Sharkie and Phrelin.

"But the freedom that they fought for, and the country grand they wrought for, is their monument today, and for aye." "This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."

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#4 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 01:32 PM

BTW - I did not know that Joe Mantegna was such a devoted supporter of veterans, disabled veterans and the like. It seems he is much like Gary Sinise, and keeps it quiet. Another kind of hero.

This was Joe's 7th year. The Washington Post had a short interview article on Montegna last year:

A longtime advocate of Veterans Administration volunteer opportunities and troop support, Mantegna says he'd rather keep his personal beliefs about the war to himself.

Says Mantegna, "Take 90 minutes to watch a show like this. It will help you understand why we have this day and why it's important. In the midst of all our barbecues, it's about something very important to our history and to these people who make sacrifices for this country."


EDIT: The PBS web site on this show has links to ways one can help our vets.

#5 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 11:32 PM

I forgot to bring this thread up again. If the show is repeated on your PBS station, record or watch it live. For some reason this year it got to me as the bugler started taps after a poignant piece.

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#6 OFFLINE   Supramom2000

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 01:25 PM

I just received this letter from a dear family friend today - a WWII B-25 gunner. Apparently, he had sent it out in the past, but I must have been left off the mailing list. It is pretty moving - about the dedication of the National WWII memorial in DC.

The Dedication of the National WWII Memorial - 2004

Dear Friends and Family:

Lynnie and I returned to San Jose this Memorial Day morning from Washington, D.C. where we had attended the dedication of the W.W.II National Memorial. I am elated, humbled, and proud that we were able to be there. We were truly in the company of heroes.

Our party of veterans and escorts arrived at Washington Reagan on Wednesday, May 26th, to a salute by the D.C. Fire Department spraying water into the air over our United Airline plane! A salute generally reserved for retiring United Captains. We were whisked to the Hyatt Regency where we registered for both the hotel and the World War II Veterans Committee conclave. The lobby of the hotel was filled with uniformed military, old gentlemen proudly wearing their medals, ladies who had served, dressed in old uniforms also well decorated, youngsters who were attendants, and many locals and visitors, seeking autographs and offering thanks to the "greatest generation!"

Our party was made up of veterans and high school students who were recorders of digital histories for the Library of Congress's living history programs. These kids are accomplished movie makers, using their skills to make short memoirs of veterans' recollections of their service. They recorded vignettes of Filipino Scouts who escaped the Death March and fought on in the jungles, POWs captured after D-Day, riflemen of the 36th Division's Lost Battalion, trapped by the Nazis and rescued by the Japanese-American soldiers of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, old aerial gunners, Battalion Surgeons who couldn't talk of what they had seen and almost a thousand more stories that were turned over to the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian. Sixteen of the veterans, each accompanied by a student, and led by Vice-Mayor Pat Dando of San Jose and Warren Hegg, founder of our local Stories of Service program, now a national program, were part of the San Jose contingent to the 7th Annual Conference of the World War II Veterans Committee.

Each day, the Committee started by offering breakfast and a program such as the opening day's Address by Gen. Andrew J. Goodpaster, former Supreme Allied Commander, NATO, or the panel on D-Day headed by men from the 101st Airborne and the 2nd Ranger Battalion.

We all went to Arlington to lay a wreath. Five bus loads from the Committee. As we left the Tomb of the Unknowns, each old warrior, even though he needed a cane, walked a little straighter, his shoulders were back and, his tummy was sucked in, following the example of the 3rd Infantry men, proudly in their dress blues. That evening, we attended a reception for Dan Kurtzman, author of the book, "No Greater Glory," the definitive history of the "Immortal Chaplains" who gave their lives during the sinking of the troop transport Dorchester. These men, of four different faiths, gave their life jackets to other men and then linked arms and went down with the ship. They were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Roosevelt. Members one of the Chaplains family was present. It was emotional!

On Friday, The Honorable Zoe Lofgrin put on a breakfast for her constituents where she presented each of us with a certificate and then honored a wonderful widow of a local veteran of the Tuskegee Airmen. After this very nice gesture, we all walked from the Cannon Office Building down to the Mall where we presented the Stories of Service DVDs to the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian.

After the presentation, I went into the Reunion Tent to look at the 12th Air Force board. There I found a note indicating that S/Sgt Narcisco Garcia of the 488th Bomb Squadron (M) was alive and living in El Paso and has a cell phone (915.xxx.xxxx) I'll try to call him tomorrow. All along the Mall, the Smithsonian had erected large tents to conduct activities: a pavilion for the Library of Congress Living History program where people took down the stories of the men and women. The Reunion tent was where there was a area for each branch of the service and various outfits. Messages were posted here. A family activities tent, and a History Tent where people such as Bob Dole and George Bush, the elder, spoke. The next tent held a very large stage where continuous shows were held, much like the USO shows that followed us around overseas. These Smithsonian sponsored events were at the Capital end of the Mall, generally in front of the Castle. Then started seating areas with large Diamond TV Screens. No tickets or pay needed. These seats ran almost to the Washington Monument.

At 6 PM, we went to the Church of the Epiphany for Evensong Service. It was fantastic and was followed by a reception. Many members of the various Diplomatic Services, the foreign military services and our own military were present. Our Ambassador to some small country in the Balkans offered Lynnie and me a ride back to the Hyatt, but we had already committed to return on the bus.

Saturday morning started with breakfast, on the Committee, several presentations, one by Ken Wales, producer of the Pink Panther films, who is going to produce a film about the Four Chaplains. And then we started to load the buses for the Dedication.

Each bus had to stage to RFK Stadium. There we transferred to other busses that had been swept by security people. The new busses then were escorted via freeways that held no other traffic directly to the seating area. We had to wear our ticket in plain view and go through a screening area just like any airport. The class of ticket allowed us to enter the proper area. These tickets, provided by the Committee, placed us in the first ten rows of the seating, almost directly in front of the podium!!! As we had all been designated "W.W.II GENERATION HONOREE," we were allowed to wander back stage among the VIPs, the celebrities, the speakers. The exception was the area that was the President's.

Not that this old man wandered too far from his seat, but several of the wives and children took advantage and took pictures of Tom Hanks, Tom Brokaw, Bob Dole and some of the others. I won't try to describe the ceremony because I am sure that you read the newspapers and saw C-span and the History Channel's presentations or at least the re-runs! It is enough to say that I was surrounded by weeping men, evens the young were captured by the emotions of both the speakers and the veterans. I do have to mention that there were service people, from Privates to Lt. Colonels, Seamen to Commanders acting as water boys and girls, passing out bottles of water (provided by Wal-mart) and making sure that if you had one that was almost empty, a full bottle was on the way! The worst fears of the Red Cross never came about! There were a few turned ankles, but nothing serious!

The return took time. The Washington Police were so scared of something happening, they would not allow the buses to return until after the President had departed. By then the streets were so crowded with people that the buses could not get to the assigned loading areas. We had to walk back to 15th Street and load there. We didn't get back to the hotel until almost 6 o'clock and then we had to change into formal attire (medals and decorations required) for the Gala Awards Dinner.

On the way to the VIP reception, at about 7, there were still people getting back. All of them missed the cocktail hour and a few missed the Dinner

At the reception, I felt like Bill Mauldin's Joe when some brass showed up and Willie said to Joe, "What do ya want to do, pass in review?" Admirals and Generals of all ilk. Active and retired. Colonels and Light Colonels were a dime a dozen as were Commanders and Captains. Master Chiefs and Chief Master Sergeants were there resplendent in their dress blues or dress whites. And then there were eight Medal of Honor winners. One Marine was a 14 year old private when he earned his at Iwo Jima. Can you imagine a MOH recipient returning to the 9th grade wearing the Medal of Honor? The most fun were the 11 members of E Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne, Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers! They were all over each other and all over each of the other vets present. There are so few left, that all are brothers!

During the banquet and later in the lobby we were constantly approached by younger people asking for autographs, thanking us for just doing our duty. The following day, before we left for the airport, others brought posters of the Memorial and asked us to sign them with our rank and where we were during the war.

On Sunday morning some friends took us out to breakfast. I started to tell them about the ceremony and the room grew quiet as other tables listened to what I was saying. Everyone seemed to want to hear our stories. There is one more thing that I have to report.

Our return to San Jose was delayed by a front that extended from Houston to
Chicago with the tops above 60 thousand. There was no way to get to Chicago for our connection to SJC. We waited three hours in the airport, we waited three hours on the ramp, we returned to the gate and waited some more. During the first wait on the ramp, the pilot, Captain Lee, announced that he was carrying a load of W.W.II Veterans. And he would like to buy anything that we wanted to drink while we were waiting! After six and a half hours he finally got clearance to go to Chicago via Wisconsin, and he again would like to buy all of the booze.

We arrived in Chicago just after midnight. Pat Dando, in her quiet, caring way arranged with United for motel reservations, special pricing and buses to take us there. United said that they would get some of us out at 8 the following morning while the rest would not leave until 10 AM. About that time, here comes Captain Lee. He says, "I am about to leave for Oakland and I have 40 seats available. If any of you want to go with me, I am holding the plane!" Well of course we all said yes! The passenger agents made it happen, and we arrived in Oakland a few minutes after three this morning. And oh yes, Captain Lee picked up the booze again! All of the glitches were handled by Vice-mayor Dando and her cell phone! Arriving in Oakland at 3:15 in the morning with no way home? No problem. Pat made some phone calls and vans were there waiting!

As I said at the start, I am humbled, proud, and elated. It was an emotional four days. The Memorial is a thing of beauty. The design is perfect. I am so happy that I lived long enough to be part of the dedication and that Lynnie was able to be with me.

If I were a Marine, I would say "Sempre Fi" but I am just an old airman, so I will say God bless you all.

Jerry


"But the freedom that they fought for, and the country grand they wrought for, is their monument today, and for aye." "This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."

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#7 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 03:14 PM

I know I'm bringing this up giving short notice, but in case someone wants to watch the "2012 National Memorial Day Concert" tonight.

Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna co-host the concert honoring men and women of U.S. military services. Guests include Daughtry, Natalie Cole, Trace Adkins, Jessica Sanchez, Ellen Burstyn, Dennis Franz and retired Gen. Colin L. Powell.

It is usually quite moving.

"In a hundred years there'll be a whole new set of people."
"Always poke the bears. They sleep too much for their own good."

"If you're good enough, they'll talk about you." - Tom Harmon
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#8 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 05:12 PM

So much courage and honor in one place, and so often neglected. It is a powerful event. And today Rolling Thunder, the motorcycle riders, rolled into Washington to pay their respects to the fallen brave in their Ride To the Wall. Makes you proud to be an American.

My uncle charged up the hill at Iwo Jima with his Marine buddies and lived to tell the tale. He was literally keeping us all free.

He was no more brave or honorable than any soldier today under fire, at risk. Any wounded, any loss of life is equal in any war. You don't judge the soldier's heart and soul and love of his country on the war he's fighting. They're all heroes. Equally. From Normandy to Ia Drang to Khandahar.

[Political commentary removed]

Edited by James Long, 28 May 2012 - 10:25 PM.





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