This year is the 25th anniversary of Forrest Gump, the movie in which Gary Sinise played Lt. Dan. The role of Lt. Dan (a Vietnam Vet who lost both of his legs in the war) resonated with the military men and women he came in contact with. Gary actively sought out opportunities to express his gratitude to our Veterans. After 9/11 he started looking for ways to honor our first responders and military and one of those ways was entertaining our troops. Under the USO he started the Lt Dan Band. One of their first tours was in 2004 to Korea, Singapore and Diego Garcia.
He began the Gary Sinise Foundation (GSF) in 2011 and many other grateful Americans now donate to this foundation. The foundation funds the Lt Dan Band and helps veterans and their families in many ways. The Band travels to wherever there are veterans with the goal of raising spirits and expressing gratitude to our service men and women. They do 30-40 shows per year – for USO, military charities, events or benefits and they have performed over 300 shows since its founding. “Honor, Gratitude and Rock and Roll” is their motto.
We were privileged to attend the Lt. Dan Band concert on January 20 at Davis-Monthan AFB. The entire performance was great! The highlight of the night was at the end of their show when the band led us all in “Proud to be an American.”
Gary Sinise has a book coming out in February, “Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service.” May we all be as grateful and committed to service as Mr. Sinise.