On Sunday May 26, 2013, patriotic Americans will gather on the United States Capitol lawn to pay tribute to the men and women who have served their country with honor. Service men and women who gave their lives in service to the United States of America will be honored. As the present writer was born on Memorial Day it is the one national holiday that has always been the most memorable. The draft card from the Selective Service still remains framed on the wall after 40 years. Memorial Day is always remembered with reverence and respect.
The man who inspired patriotism and a love of country in so many Americans will be at the Memorial Day Concert 2013 to share the Meaning of Memorial Day with Americans across the nation and in service around the world. It was his words and his motto that the present writer carried to the far ends of the world in service to the nation. That man, Retired General Colin Powell, will give the meaning of service to the nation.
The Memorial Day Concert of 2012 was evacuated early due to severe thunderstorms that swept across the nation. This year the national weather service is predicting that it will be unseasonably cool in the Northeast for the Memorial Day weekend with temperatures ranging 10-20 degrees below average. On May 13, 2003, it was 39 degrees in DC at the 5 am Metro stop. There is a freeze warning in effect State College Park, PA to Charleston, WV. Sensitive plants may be killed and humans suffering from Upper Respiratory infections should be extremely careful about exposure to the cold or spending five hours in the elements.
Many Americans will brave the weather this Memorial Day as they did last year. The reasons they give are clear, “My father sacrificed his life for this country, the least I can do is to brave unpleasant weather,” said one loyal patriot who hasn’t missed a Memorial Day Concert on the Mall in 20 years. There is no way to know if a flash flood or severe storm will hit the National Mall. Any time or any place there are 250,000 or more people crowded into an area there must always be special care to prevent panic or a stampede in the event of an emergency. Memorial 2012 is a case in point.
When the crowds arrived on May 27, 2012, to attend the Memorial Day Concert there was a fear of rain; however, prepared concert goers came with umbrellas and plastic coverings. Yet, when the severe thunderstorms approached there was the fear of someone being struck by lighting or being the victims of a tree branch torn by the wind. The Capitol Police moved to protect the citizens by evacuating the concert. It was a wise move because moments after many people were in their cars the sky opened up into a torrential downpour with thunder and lightning and high winds.
The amazing thing was the way the people responded to the police order to evacuate. Perhaps the nature of the crowd, people sincerely paying their respect to honor those who served their nation was a factor; however, for those who were in the crowd they saw people acting with dignity, order, and decorum. Men allowed women and children to pass in front of them. There were two women who were witnesses to the evacuation who shared their comments. Barbara Janzig Bankes was listening to Gary Sinise on the stage when the evacuation call was ordered, “I was very impressed by the orderliness of the evacuation. Better safe than sorry,” Bankes said.
The men and women of PBS have worked very hard all year to make the Memorial Day Concert a success. D.C. residents who can not attend the live concert can join the millions who will watch the broadcast on television. It will be broadcast at 8 p.m., on WETA in Washington. A full list of the performers and events will be published on this website page tomorrow. Concert attendees should be aware that many items will not be allowed through the security checkpoint. To avoid having to turn around with prohibited items usedview.com is providing a list of the prohibited items with this article. Leave the items at home to avoid inconvenience. Security is always tight for the concert.
With weather planes, and satellite feeds the Capitol Police can see what the crowds on the ground cannot see. They saw the storm coming last year while it looked as if it was clearing to those lying on the beautiful green grass of the Capitol lawn. However, even though it did not appear as if there was immediate danger 20 years of attending the event gave wisdom and prudence to move quickly even though the sky was clear. “It looked sunny there to me, too,” Michelle Cushing said. Yet Cushing joined the thousands and thousands of other concert goers who did not argue with the evacuation order. They quietly gathered their things and did as they were told. No one was hurt because they followed the Capitol Police order to evacuate.
Authors note: As promised, readers who are attending the PBS Memorial Day Concert on the West lawn of the United States Capitol are reminded not to bring the following items to the event:
1. Alcoholic Beverages
2. Animals (Other than Services Animals) not allowed.
4. Firearms and Ammunitions (Either Real or Simulated).
5. Explosives of any kind (including Fireworks) not allowed.
6. Knives, Blades, or Sharp objects (of any length) not allowed.
7. Laser pointers, signs, or posters.
8. Mace, Pepper spray, sticks and poles.
9. Oversize Umbrellas.
10. Pocket of hand tools.
11. Sealed packages, large boxes, duffle bags or suitcases.
12. Any other items at the discretion of the Capitol Police Security Screeners.
After 20 years of enjoying the live performances of the greatest artists in America it is time to make space for others who have not been to the wonderful concert. For a complete list of all the participants and sponsors of the great concert tonight go to www.pbs.org.
Happy Memorial Day. America!