The 90-minute program, which will kick off with the winner of "American Idol XIII" performing the National Anthem, will be co-hosted for the ninth year by Tony Award winner Joe Mantegna and Emmy Award winner Gary Sinise.
Broadcast live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, the 25th anniversary broadcast will also include the talents of Grammy Award-winning country music artist Jennifer Nettles, who will offer a musical salute with 100 recently returned veterans from Afghanistan on stage; two-time Academy and Emmy Award-winning actress Dianne Wiest; country music sensation and "The Voice" 2013 winner Danielle Bradbery; Broadway and television star Megan Hilty; musical prodigy and classical crossover star Jackie Evancho; and world-renowned tenor Anthony Kearns.
The artists will be backed by the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly.
General Colin L. Powell USA (Ret.) will lead a tribute to our servicemen and women with a “Welcome Home” to thank our veterans, as they begin to come home from Afghanistan, for their valor. The evening will also feature veteran actor Gerald McRaney.