In a recent interview with Newsmax on “Wake Up America,” actor Gary Sinise shared how his portrayal of Lt. Dan in the iconic film “Forrest Gump” had a profound impact on his life. Playing the character who loses both legs during the Vietnam War turned out to be a pivotal moment that sparked his commitment to supporting wounded veterans.
“Little did I know that at that time once the movie came out, I would be introduced to the Disabled American Veterans Organization, which represents at that time about 1.5 million wounded veterans,” Sinise recounted. “Now, it’s over 2 million wounded veterans that they represent and advocate for.”
This introduction to the organization marked the beginning of Sinise’s involvement in supporting wounded veterans. Following the events of September 11th, a new generation of wounded veterans emerged from conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Sinise felt a calling to contribute and began visiting them in hospitals while supporting organizations dedicated to their well-being.
This commitment evolved into the creation of the Gary Sinise Foundation, established in 2011, which focuses on providing support to military and first responders. Celebrating its 13th year, the foundation continues its mission to assist those who have sacrificed for their country.
In honor of Veterans Day, Sinise’s band, The Lt. Dan Band, is hosting a special event in Las Vegas for 80 wounded veterans. The “Salute to the Troops” gathering, held in partnership with American Airlines, includes a concert by the band and features a house giveaway to one of the wounded veterans.
“There’s always been a lot going on for Veterans Day,” Sinise noted. “We have an annual event that we’ve been doing in Las Vegas called ‘Salute to the Troops.’ I do it in partnership with American Airlines. We have over 80 wounded coming into Las Vegas for a three- or four-day event, and my band always plays for them. I’ve been doing this for many, many years now.”