Co hosted by Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise, this program celebrates the War Veterans from each generation. The PBS Special is pure patriotism and features music by Gladys Knight, Sarah Brightman, Rodney Atkins and bands from the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines.
As great as it is to listen to the music of George M. Cohan and John Fogarty, the "Annual National Memorial Day Concert at the Capitol" is not a rah rah pep rally. Actors such as the Late Ossie Davis, Kathy Bates and Charles Durning read letters from soldiers on the font lines of combat. The reading of these letters makes the most cynical cry.
This year’s "Annual National Memorial Day Concert at the Capitol" features a special tribute to Charles Durning. Mostly known for his curmudgeon roles in hit movies like "The Sting," "Tootsie," and Oscar nominated for "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" and "To Be or Not to Be," Charles Durning was shot in the hip and legs during the Normandy Invasion on June 6, 1944. Ironically when Durning returned from the war, he went to work as a Fred Astaire Dance instructor.
For fifty years, Charles Durning did not talk about his war experiences. It was his involvement with the "1994 Annual National Memorial Day Concert at the Capitol" that this craggy character actor revealed the terror of storming Normany Beach. He may have survivor's gult, but as an American citizen who has enjoyed his freedom for 45 years, thank you for the the sacrifice Mr. Durning and the brave 18 year old men who stormed the beaches on June 6, 1944.
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