For the past 24 years, PBS has aired the “National Memorial Day Concert”. This concert is broadcast on public television stations throughout the country, and to nearly one million American service men and women stationed in 175 countries, 170 U.S. Navy ships at sea, and to Department of Defense civilians and their families overseas via the American Forces Network.
Broadcast live from our nation’s Capital, the National Memorial Day Concert, which includes musical performances, documentary footage, and dramatic readings, delivers on the country’s commitment dates back to the Civil War, to unite in remembrance and appreciation of the fallen and to serve those who are grieving. Viewers learn the challenges of returning veterans and how we, as Americans, can assist our fellow citizens in times of need and sacrifice.
Proven need for public broadcasting
Marvin Wolf of Plantation, Florida was so moved by this year’s concert that he was inspired to pen an op-ed titled “Proven need for public broadcasting” in his local paper, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
In his opinion piece, he noted that no other major network offered a prime-time tribute to our troops, and that Congress should take note of the special and its great work in honoring the troops and respectfully raising awareness of the issues of returning veterans.
He concluded that “commercial networks do not – and will not – fill the role that PBS and NPR do so well.”
Marvin Wolf highlights an important point – that it’s unlikely that you will find such content on commercial stations.
And here’s why:
- Public media has a different mission than commercial media because it strives to treat its viewers not as consumers but as citizens.
- Public media is trusted by the American people because it reflects the values of its viewers and listeners.
- Public media is free and accessible to all Americans.
From Fairbanks, Alaska to Miami, Florida, Americans receive this and many other essential programs that preserve historic, meaningful traditions and honor its citizens, for a cost of $1.35 per citizen per year. You could pay that amount several times over for a cable subscription, and still not find a program comparable to the National Memorial Day Concert.
Without the federal investment in public media, the 25th annual broadcast of “The National Memorial Day Concert” to honor and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice will not be possible.