This Christian Actor’s Faith Moves Him to Honor Veterans and Servicemen
By Tess Farrand, Staff Writer
With the observation of Veterans Day coming up this weekend, it feels appropriate to take a moment and highlight the good deeds one Christian actor does to honor U.S. veterans and servicemen.
You may recognize Gary Sinise from the big screen in movies like APOLLO 13 and RANSOM, and TV shows like CRIMINAL MINDS. Sinise started his acting career in the early 80’s, but perhaps his most recognizable role is as Lieutenant Dan in the 1994 movie FORREST GUMP. In the movie, Sinise plays Lieutenant Dan, a soldier that the title character Forrest meets while service during the Vietnam War. Flash forward twenty-five years later, Lieutenant Dan’s character still has a profound impact on this Christian actor, so much so that he started his own organization that honors veterans and servicemen. While anyone who seeks to lend a hand to those in need exercises a profound kindness, Sinise’s motivation stems from something central to his core: his personal relationship with Jesus.
In recent years, Sinise spoke at a conference for the Catholic fraternal organization, Knights of Columbus, where he reflected on his faith. He said, “When I think about the life and sufferings of Christ, when I think about the stories of the extreme hardships and heavy burdens that our military men and women and their families were willing to and continue to bear, I can’t help but think about this verse: ‘For greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.’”
Along with his interaction with real-life service people during his FORREST GUMP days, his faith serves as a “catalyst” for the actor’s philanthropic work.
Starting in 2004, Sinise’s band “The Lt. Dan Band,” named for his FORREST GUMP character, travel around the globe to entertain servicemen. Although Sinise always had an affection and deep reverence for these individuals, he wanted to do more. As a result, The Gary Sinise Foundation was founded in 2011 to keep his efforts moving forward in a big way.
His mission is, “to serve and honor our nation’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need by creating and supporting unique programs that entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities.” Sinise and his foundation team are very active in the lives of everyday heroes, and their efforts draw heavily from Sinise’s example to “love others as yourself.”
Sinise is also bridging the gap between Hollywood and veterans on this upcoming Veterans Day. Regal Entertainment Theaters will be donating $1 for every large popcorn sold to the Gary Sinise Foundation.
It’s always an encouragement to see how God’s hand touches the lives of so many deserving individuals!
Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)