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The Gary Sinise Foundation Honors WWII Veterans’ At The National WWII Museum

Photo from Gary Sinise’s Instagram

The Gary Sinise Foundation Honors WWII Veterans’ At The National WWII Museum

By Movieguide® Contributor  

The Gary Sinise Foundation recently partnered with American Airlines to fly Long Island students and WWII veterans to The National WWII Museum in New Orleans. 

The 18 veterans and 38 high school students were treated to a heroic sendoff as they flew out of MacArthur airport and were greeted in Louisiana with a hero’s welcome, water cannon salute, and bagpipes.  

The trip was part of the Soaring Valor program which was started in 2015 to bring WWII veterans to the museum that was built in their honor. The program was expanded to partner veterans with students in 2017 as a way to share the legacies of service with the younger generation and to highlight the importance of sacrifice.  

Sinise was inspired to create this program after a trip to the museum with his Uncle Jack, a WWII veteran. While Uncle Jack passed away in 2014, his experience in the war was orally recorded to be preserved for future generations. The foundation now funds a historian at the museum who works to preserve the legacies of other WWII veterans and create a “living library” of stories. 

Since its inception, the Soaring Valor program has sponsored over 1,000 veterans’ trips to the museum, all of whom have been invited to record their stories in the living library, as well as over 200 students who have accompanied the veterans on their trips.  

Movieguide® previously reported on the Soaring Valor program: 

The Gary Sinise Foundation celebrated one of its recent projects: helping America’s oldest Pearl Harbor survivor travel to the National WWII Museum.  

The veterans foundation teamed up with Amtrak to help 105 year-old U.S. Army PFC Joseph Eskenazi get to the museum in New Orleans. Pictures posted to the foundation’s blog show Eskenazi celebrating his birthday onboard the train and enjoying his trip to New Orleans.  

Actor and founder Gary Sinise spoke further about helping the WWII veteran travel to the museum during a local news appearance. 

The actor thanked “all the thousands and thousands of donors that make these trips possible” before talking a little more about his partnership with the National WWII Museum.  

“I’ve had a long relationship with [the museum] going back to when Tom Hanks invited me to do the voice of Ernie Pyle in the movie that plays at the museum,” Sinise explained.  

In 2014, he helped his uncle Jack, a WWII veteran, visit the museum. He passed away shortly after, and Sinise said he thought “every family should have a video of their WWII family member hero [visiting the museum].” 

This kickstarted Sinise’s partnership with the National WWII Museum, as well as a relationship with American Airlines, who help veterans travel to New Orleans.  

Sinise also spoke about his years of work with veterans through the Gary Sinise Foundation.  

“They don’t ask for much. They give a lot,” he shared. “They provide our freedom for us and then defend our cities…and each time I did something [with veterans], I just wanted to go out and do more.” 

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.