PBS’s Moving Memorial Day Concert: Why You Need To Watch It

PBS’s Moving Memorial Day Concert: Why You Need To Watch It May 30, 2024

Soldier saluting the flag in the sun

Every year PBS broadcasts the National Memorial Day Concert from Washington D.C.  This year it was it’s 35th Anniversary.  It featured actors and actresses reading stories of vets who were in attendance, patriotic pomp and circumstance, and  moving musical tributes to those veterans who have passed on as well as those who are still with us.  This is a concert that is worth watching every year because the production is so well done.  This year’s concert was no exception.

I have usually watched this TV show visiting my father, but this time I was alone at home, taking it easy, and watching the program via the PBS YouTube channel.  Like previous years there was some great music, stories, and more.  But this time, it felt just a bit different.  I’m not sure if it was because of words to songs I’ve never heard before or because I was able to reflect on the times that are living in now and how we kind of take our military for granted, especially our veterans.

Highlights of the concert:

Honoring the branches of the military — This part of the show was pretty cool because with each branch of the military, they were represented by their theme song.  Mostly these were military marches.  Frankly, love military marches or just classical marches of any kind because they always tend to put me in a good mood.  I don’t know if I really have a favorite, but I think if it were to choose, it would be the Anthem of the US Air Force.

Ruthie Ann Miles singing Aloha Oe – Farewell to Thee –  I never quite knew the words to this songs until I heard it and I have to say that it choked me up a bit.  It’s really such a beautiful song, and it’s kind of sad that some cartoons have made it as part of a joke or as an ending to a goofy cartoon.  Now that I have heard the words and know the song more depth,  I have such a respect for it.

Honoring the 80th Anniversary of the turning point of WW2. – It was to see that there are some that served in the war still alive to be honored and tell their tale, but the population is dwindling.  I have a couple of family members who were in World War 2 including my Great Uncle Harold Neubacher who served in the Navy, and my Great Aunt Virginia Carey who was part of the WAC.  She was not nicknamed serge for nothing.

Speaking of people that I know who have since passed on and served in the military during the Vietnam War, I thought I would mention these names in their memory:  Sam M. Barnes, cousin-in-law and David Caylor, old neighborhood friend.

While many people get together with families to begin the “unofficial summer season,”  others like to visit cemeteries to honor their loved ones who were in the military and stop by the military section if their local cemetery has one.  Sometimes, some family members like to just go to their own family grave sites to plant flowers and clean their graves just to show honor towards them.

I know for myself, I have been to my family gravesites on the holiday.  However, apart from the holiday, I have been to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA and  the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Michigan.  Going to these places, I have felt the energy and the respect that goes with it.  I think that now, when I go into a cemetery and I see veteran grave or  military section, I plan to pause and thank them for their service.

However, that shouldn’t be for the dead, but also for the living too who really could use our support right now.  That is really the emphasis of what this concert/service is all about.  Never forget those who sacrificed and never forget those who still need support even after they have served.

If you would like to check out the concert in full, you can go to the PBS Youtube Channel or click on the link here.

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