Highlights of the Concert
Graham Greene shares SGT Bill Rider's story on the 2018 National Memorial Day Concert.
The 2018 concert shared the story of Korean War veterans Joe Annello and Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura – dear friends now for 68 years – who helped each other survive deadly combat during the Korean War, endured the unimaginable as POWs and became American heroes. To mark the 70th anniversary of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, the concert also paid tribute to the contributions of women in our military throughout history, including the story of Silver Star recipient Leigh Ann Hester, the 1st woman to receive the Silver Star for combat. In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Khe Sanh, the show featured the story of Bill Rider, who was part of the Marine battalion known as “The Walking Dead.” As a part of the healing process, Bill found a way to pay it forward by dedicating his life to helping generations of service men and women who have experienced the trauma of war.
The all-star line-up featured distinguished American leader General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) and performances by Academy Award, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actress Allison Janney; three-time Grammy Award nominee Leona Lewis; Academy Award nominated actor Graham Greene; Tony-nominated actress Mary McCormack; Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award-nominated actor John Corbett; film and television actor Brian Tee; actor and country singer Charles Esten; Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning actress and singer Cynthia Erivo; Tony-nominee Megan Hilty; acclaimed tenor and Broadway star Alfie Boe; and Gary Sinise & The Lt. Dan Band, marking 15 years and over 400 concerts entertaining our troops, veterans and military families; in performance with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly. "The Voice" Season 14 finalist Spensha Baker opened the show with a special performance of the national anthem.
Also participating in the event were the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff with The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, The U.S. Army Chorus and Army Voices, The Soldiers' Chorus of the U.S. Army Field Band, The U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters, The U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants, The Armed Forces Color Guard and Service Color Teams provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C.