Lifestyle & Human Interest

Gary Sinise Performs with Lt. Dan Band in Front of Thousands of Veterans


Gary Sinise has gone above and beyond for veterans yet again.

According to a blog post from the Gary Sinise Foundation, the “Forrest Gump” actor put on a show for thousands of older vets at a venue in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday.

The performance sold out as members of The Villages retirement community, which is billed as the “largest concentration of veterans living outside a U.S. military base,” gathered to watch Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band play.

Sinise is widely known for his support of military families and service members, with his foundation raising as much as $30 million per year in support for veterans, according to People.

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The Lt. Dan Band, named for the actor’s character in “Forrest Gump,” has been raising awareness and funds for veterans since its formation in 2004. After the movie’s release 10 years earlier, Sinise was recognized so frequently for his portrayal of the wounded Vietnam vet that he began using the character’s influence to make a positive difference for real-life heroes.

“He’s more than a character in a movie,” Sinise wrote of “Lt. Dan” in his 2019 book “Grateful American,” according to People. “To these veterans, he has become a symbol of awareness for our country’s collective awareness of all our injured veterans, especially the Vietnam veteran.”

Sunday’s performance garnered a huge crowd as the band paid tribute to those who have fought and sacrificed for their country.

After the show, attendees expressed gratitude for the recognition that Sinise and the other performers gave to honor their service.

“We love Gary Sinise, oh my gosh,” one concert-goer said, according to the blog post. “It’s good to see the Vietnam vets finally getting the respect they deserve.”

The actor took the time to offer thanks to several veterans, including Edward Harvey, who served in the Army in Germany at the end of World War II.

Harvey attended the concert with his daughter, who told the foundation, “He never spoke about his service. He never felt properly thanked for what he did during the war.”

Like so many others, Harvey found healing through the music and the recognition that finally came after so many years.

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The 2017 wildfire season in California was one of the most catastrophic and destructive on record. In all, more than 9,000 fires raged across the state which charred more than 1.2 million acres. In the state's Wine Country, the Tubbs fire engulfed Napa and Sonoma counties at the beginning of October 2017 and nearly wiped out Santa Rosa. Entire neighborhoods and city blocks were left destroyed. The imagery was apocalyptic. On Throwback Thursday we go back to April 29, 2018, when Gary Sinise and The Lt. Dan Band brought honor, gratitude, and rock and roll to the first responder community in Santa Rosa in a special concert that took place inside the hangar of the Pacific Coast Air Museum at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa. With Big Jims BBQ catering the event, the day's festivities, and entertainment brought the community together, many of whom were still rebuilding their lives after the devastation inflicted by fires from the last year. Tap on the link in bio to relive the event in the accompanying video. ?

A post shared by Gary Sinise Foundation (@garysinisefoundation) on

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“I’ve found that service is the best way to heal,” Sinise told People.

“If every person in every neighborhood around the country took a little bit of responsibility for patting these folks on the back, all the problems that we hear about with regards to veterans not getting services or falling through the cracks would disappear,” he said.

“If citizens would look at their freedom providers in a little bit different way.”

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Laura Stewart was an associate story editor and news and lifestyle contributor for The Western Journal.
Laura Stewart was an associate story editor and news and lifestyle contributor for The Western Journal.
Phoenix, AZ