Most people are aware of how loyal Gary Sinise is to his country and how he helps our disabled veterans. Most people don’t know that he was connected to Lieutenant Dan Taylor, the character he played in the movie Forrest Gump, long before he made the movie.
Forrest Gump was a huge hit in 1994 and became one of the most important movies of the decade. Lieutenant Dan Taylor, who was Forrest Gump’s tough senior officer and was played by Gary Sinise, was one of the most memorable and loved characters. Gump saves Lieutenant Dan on the battlefield, but he doesn’t want to. Even though he didn’t die, both of his legs were cut off.
Sinise’s role as Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump made him one of the most famous wounded veterans in movie history. This made him want to help other veterans all over the world. But what most people don’t know is that Sinise has had a personal connection to warriors like Lieutenant Dan for a long time, long before he played Lieutenant Dan in the movie.
Sinise’s family has served in the U.S. military for a long time, starting with his Grandpa Dan, who joined the U.S. Army during World War I. During WWII, Sinise’s uncle Jack was a navigator on thirty missions, and his uncle Jerry was in the Navy. Sinise’s dad, Robert, was in the Navy during the Korean War in the early 1950s. As a young man, Sinise’s patriotism was shaped a lot by that foundation.
Sinise didn’t really understand the unique problems of Vietnam veterans until he met his wife Moira Harris. According to the Gary Sinise Foundation, the actor who played Forrest Gump started looking for stories about Vietnam. This subject was important to him because Moira’s two brothers, Mac Harris and Arthur Harris, and her brother-in-law, Jack Treese, all served in the Vietnam War. Gary saw that it was important to show appreciation for these warriors who had been mistreated when they came home.
Sinise told The Arizona Republic, “I knew right away that the character was a way to break the ice.” “There were a lot of veterans who weren’t in great shape, but when I walked in, their faces would light up and they’d want to talk about the movie. Over the years, that character has become associated with our wounded and our service members,” Sinise said. “The story of Lt. Dan is one of my favorites because it has a happy ending.”
That gave Sinise the idea to start his foundation to help disabled and hurt veterans. Sinise said, “When our veterans came back from the Vietnam War, they were not treated well and had to hide.” “When we started sending people to Iraq and Afghanistan, I wanted to do what I could to make sure they knew they were appreciated.”
Sinise read the book Fortunate Son by Lewis Puller Jr. to prepare for his role as Lieutenant Dan. He also talked at length with his wife’s brothers about what they did in Vietnam. It is an autobiography about Puller’s time in Vietnam, where he lost both legs and his left hand. It won the Pulitzer Prize, and Puller’s father, Chesty Puller, is the most decorated Marine in history and is also a war hero.
Gary is a strong supporter of the military, so someone asked him if he ever wished he had joined the military himself. “The Vietnam War was just ending when I graduated from high school,” he said. “That wasn’t something I planned to do. When I met my wife’s brothers and found out more about what they went through in Vietnam, I felt bad that I hadn’t paid much attention in school.
Sinise said, “I think that feeling of guilt made me decide to do something to help our veterans.” “Those first ideas turned into a full-time job. So I guess I’m trying to make up for not serving in the military by helping those who did.” Sinise then reminded all Americans that we have a personal duty to care about our American heroes.
Sinise said, “Government can only do so much.” “I think people have a part to play. After all, less than 1% of our people actually defend the rest of the country, and we all benefit from their sacrifices as we enjoy the freedom they take an oath to protect. They are the ones who give us freedom, and I know that my freedom must be fought for and kept safe.