We live in a nation that is constantly being divided. Sometime the division occurs over insignificant things like who we’re cheering for in the Super Bowl or who should get that coveted final rose on The Bachelor.
Other times, the division occurs over things of far greater importance. Democrat or Republican. Pro-life or pro-choice. The constant dividing is everywhere. We can’t even agree on which bathroom a person should use anymore!
With all of this division surrounding us, when the opportunity to unite comes, it clearly stands out as something special.
And something special is exactly what the National Memorial Day Concert is!
PBS will air the National Memorial Day Concert live from the U.S. Capitol tonight at 8 PM Eastern time. I had the privilege yesterday of attending the dress rehearsals for the show and I can assure you that it is going to be a spectacular performance! The event is co-hosted by Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds) and Gary Sinise (Criminal Minds:Without Borders).
Other members of the star-studded cast include American Idol Winner Trent Harmon, Katharine McPhee, The Beach Boys, Renee Fleming, Alphie Boe, Trace Adkins, S. Epatha Merkerson, Esai Morales, and General Colin Powell. After seeing each of their performances and having the opportunity to personally speak with many of them, it was obvious to me that their hearts are in the right place on this Memorial Day weekend. More than one of them made sure to point out to us that this event is not about the people up on that stage, it is about those who aren’t.
Esai Morales spoke of how to him Memorial Day is a celebration of the spirit of sacrifice and service that is found amongst our military. He said, “It’s not about picnics and going to the beach, it’s about paying respect and honor to the men and women who have shown such valor”. He also discussed how in our quick-paced culture where we want everything instantly, that we are often too quick to forget those who have come before us. Instead, this weekend especially, we can come together, united to remember those who served and sacrificed.
Many of us watching had tears in our eyes as Trace Adkins performed his hit song “Arlington”. Afterwards he spoke to us about the song and how he treats it with the “utmost reverence and only performs it at specific events”. This from a man who has already completed 10 USO tours and is preparing for another. He even offered to tell our husbands hi for us if any of them were over there.
As a military spouse, I found these words spoken by Tony Award winner Alfie Boe to be especially moving. He explained that being a part of this experience has been eye-opening for him in regards to what military families go through. He said, “It’s not just the service members who have to have courage and strength. Their wives and husbands are strong and courageous too. My heart goes out to them”. And when you hear him sing tonight, there will be no doubt that his heart is in it.
So tonight, as we sit down to watch what has become known as “The Memorial Service for the Entire Nation”, let’s put aside all the things that divide us, all the things that pull as apart. And instead, let’s come together to remember those who gave us their greatest gift- their very lives.
Tune in tonight at 8 PM EST. United we remember.
(PHOTO CREDITS: HEATHER ALIANO of http://www.onlypassionatecuriosity.com)