Concert, Documentaries and a Ken Burns Preview to Mark Memorial Day 2017

Maestro Jack Everly and the National Symphony during a National Memorial Day Concert on the U.S. Capitol’s West Lawn. Credit: Courtesy of Capital Concerts

NPT will air several programs in observance of Memorial Day, including the live broadcast of the annual National Memorial Day Concert from Washington, D.C. The concert airs Sunday, May 28, at 7 p.m. and will be hosted by actors Laurence Fishburne and Joe Mantegna. This year’s line-up includes retired Army Gen. Colin L. Powell; four-time Grammy Award-winning soprano Renée Fleming; multi-platinum recording artist and entertainer Vanessa Williams; country music superstar Scotty McCreery; Christopher Jackson (Hamilton, Bull); Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty, Devious Maids); the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly and others.

The following programs will also air this month:

The Last Ring Home on Monday, May 15, at 11:30 p.m.
Lt. Minter Dial’s grandson and namesake spent years unraveling the mystery of Dial’s 1932 Annapolis Naval Academy ring.  The treasured keepsake miraculously made its way home 17 years after Lt. Dial was killed as a POW of the Japanese in WWII.

Visions in the Dark: The Life of Pinky Thompson on Tuesday, May 16, at 11 p.m.
This documentary tells the story of Myron “Pinky” Thompson, a leader in the Native Hawaiian community and veteran of the Normandy invasion in World War II. The film is part of the Pacific Heartbeat series airing Tuesdays through May 30.

Above and Beyond on Thursday, May 18, at 11 p.m.
Former Rhode Island Gov. Bruce Sundlun (1920-2011) was involved in one of the most compelling escapes of World War II after his B-17 bomber, Damn Yankee, crashed during a combat mission. This left Sundlun, a Jewish-American, and his crew in the heart of Germany’s industrial Ruhr Valley. His daughter, Kara, retraces his wartime journey.

Canine Soldiers: The Militarization of Love on Thursday, May 25, at 11 p.m.
In wars where the rules of engagement have shifted from traditional combat to the unforeseen and the invisible, highly trained Military Working Dogs are saving soldiers’ lives and giving them comfort, hope and protection. An intimate bond forms between the animals and their handlers – combat soldiers who make life-and-death decisions based on the instincts and behavior of the dogs who lead their patrols.

PBS Previews: The Vietnam War, Sunday, May 28, at 8:30 p.m.
A sneak peek at Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s The Vietnam War series coming to PBS this September. The program includes interviews with the filmmakers, behind-the-scenes footage, and exclusive clips from the series.

Farmer/Veteran on Independent Lens, Monday, May 29, at 9 p.m.
After three combat tours in Iraq, Alex Sutton finds a salve for the PTSD he developed through farming. This film by Alix Blair, Jeremy M. Lange, and D.L. Anderson shows Sutton working through lingering trauma while rebuilding his life on 43 acres in rural North Carolina.

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