Aired Sunday May 26th on Channel 5
Acclaimed actors Gary Sinise (“CSI: New York”) and Joe Mantegna (“Criminal Minds”) reunite an eighth time to host the 2013 “National Memorial Day Concert.” Both Sinise and Mantegna have deep personal connections to Memorial Day and have dedicated themselves to veterans causes as well as supporting our troops in active service.
A Brief History of Memorial Day
Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service to our country. It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, by proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of former sailors and soldiers.
During the first national celebration, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who were buried there. This event was inspired by local observances of the day that had taken place in several towns throughout America in the three years after the Civil War. By the late 1800s, many more cities and communities observed Memorial Day, and after World War I, it became an occasion for honoring those who died in all America’s wars.
Memorial Day is celebrated at Arlington National Cemetery each year with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each grave. Traditionally, the President or Vice President lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. About 5,000 people attend the ceremony annually.