Memorial Day Concert on the Capitol Lawn

There's a good chance that you know at least one fellow Washingtonian who has never attended this event in all their years here - or maybe that's you.  Sure, it's always a mixed bag, and you can catch it on PBS from the comfort of home (avoiding what seems like a yearly rain-out), but being there is something else, and there's no shame in joining that crowd for the teary-eyed telecast.  Even the foil of rain can make it seem all the more profound, as it was for the first time I ever attended.  There may be richer ways to memorialize the extraordinary sacrifices of men and women who have kept us safe, but as for me, this one is it.  (Just not this year; I write this short post from the Bahamas on a vagabond vacay.)

Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna are among the celebrity participants, joined by Gen. Colin Powell and the usual cadre of country-tinged (or should I write "twanged"?) artists, who on rare occasions like this remind us tweedy coastal types that the country music genre nearly stands alone in poetic tribute to our armed services.  Even where I don't have a liking for country music's modern incarnations, it's always an embarrassing moment to reflect on the generality that coastal intellectuals seem only to come up with anti-war anthems.  Under attack, I'll always prefer a different drum.

The free concert begins at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 30 (not Memorial Day itself, probably owing to some off-topic logistical reason), but the gates open at 5:00 p.m. - and given the security lines and large crowds, arriving early is a good idea.  Federal Center Southwest is the closest Metrorail station, but Capitol South works almost as well (translation:  don't drive).  And a little reminder:  as charming as it would be to pull wine and cheese from a wicker picnic basket in that atmosphere...busted!