Celebrate Memorial Day the Right Way

PBS concert honors fallen servicemen and women

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall (Photo by Monica Riese)

We've joked a little on this blog that Memorial Day has been reduced to "beachside barbecue, naps, and mattress sales." But there's so much more to it than that, and PBS is trying to help us remember the day's true meaning.

Memorial Day, celebrated annually on the last Monday of May, dates back to 1868, when flowers were placed on graves at Arlington National Cemetery for fallen Union and Confederate soldiers. In the early 20th century, poppies became a symbol of the holiday after poet Moina Michael wrote a poem including the line "We cherish too, the poppy red / that grows on fields where valor led"; Michael and her friends sold the flowers to benefit veterans.

In the spirit of that military recognition, Gen. Colin Powell is a guest of honor at tonight's National Memorial Day Concert, alongside the National Symphony Orchestra, the U.S. Army Chores, the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants, and many more.

The public-access network will broadcast the event live from the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. It is hosted by Gary Sinise (best known as Lt. Dan from Forrest Gump) and Joe Mantegna, who's returning to the program for his eighth consecutive year.

Tune in tonight to start your Memorial Day off right.

Watch The 2013 National Memorial Day Concert Promo on PBS. See more from National Memorial Day Concert.

The 2013 National Memorial Day Concert airs Sunday, May 26, at 7pm on PBS.

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