Jimmy Smits is honoring the military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces in a special way…
The 64-year-old half-Puerto Rican actor will be taking part in the National Memorial Day Concert.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, this year’s show will be a virtual concert. But creators hope it takes on a special resonance.
“These important rituals and holidays have a whole meaning for all of this time too,” said executive producer Michael Colbert. “We are certainly completely focused on what Memorial Day is, but I feel like at this time it is touching so many of us today.”
The National Memorial Day Concert willair on PBS on Sunday at 8:00 pm ET. The 90-minute show honors members of the military and veterans with performances and personal stories, it’s is a 31-year tradition.
Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise are returning to host the event, with a line up that includes former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Cynthia Erivo, Renée Fleming, Trace Adkins, CeCe Winans, Kelli O’Hara, Mary McCormack, Christopher Jackson and the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jack Everly, as well as General Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The broadcast will also feature performances from previous concerts, including those by Sam Elliott, Laurence Fishburne and Esai Morales.
Colbert believes that the concert, which has honored sacrifices made in wars of the past, sends an important message for what the country is going through today. The event also will spotlight those who have been on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis, including first responders, doctors, nurses, grocery clerks, truck drivers and postal workers.
“We just felt that, to have that focus on what we have already gone through, will bring a real connection to people to what is going on today, to show that we are going to get through this,” he said.
Also woven throughout the show will be messages from entertainers and other artists directed at members of the military, veterans and front-line workers. The list includes Chris Evans, George Clooney, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julianne Moore, Jimmy Kimmel, Mark Wahlberg and Smits.
The National Memorial Day Concert also will air on the American Forces Network, and will be streamed on YouTube and Facebook, as well as PBS.org. It also will be available on demand.
Here’s the list of performers with taped messages: Anthony Ramos, Blair Underwood, Brian Tee, Chely Wright, Chris Evans, Courteney Cox, Denis Leary, Dule Hill, George Clooney, Graham Greene, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Jennifer Garner, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Smits, Jon Hamm, Julianne Moore, Lindsey Vonn, Lisa Kudrow, Marcia Gay Harden, Mark Wahlberg, Milo Ventimiglio, Noah Wylie, Rita Moreno, S. Epatha Merkerson, Steven Weber, Sugar Ray Leonard, Vanessa Williams.
Also participating in new and some past selected performances are members from the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, The U.S. Army Chorus, the U.S. Army Voices and Downrange, the Soldiers’ Chorus of the U.S. Army Field Band, the U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters, the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants and Service Color Teams provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C.