Gary Sinise, who starred as Lt. Dan in Robert Zemeckis’ 1994 classic, Forrest Gump, has been talking about how the character still resonates with him to this day.
Sinise’s character was a double-amputee Vietnam War veteran, and, since his performance, he has become a longtime advocate for veteran’s concerns and plights.
The actor declared that his appearance in the film “began a relationship with our disabled veterans and wounded veterans.”
He then added, “”I realized from the get-go that that particular character had been seen by so many people within the military community that it meant something to them. That particular character is bigger than a movie really.”
Sinise even talked about the first time he entered a military hospital, stating, “I started walking by them and said ‘hi’ to them and their faces were burned … you could tell that they had been through the war.”
He then added, “They started looking at me, and then they started recognizing that I was Lt. Dan, the faces changed, and they started talking to me about Lt. Dan and stuff and their faces changed, and their attitudes changed.”
Sinise has even formed a foundation to help veterans move their military skills to civilian careers, as well as starting a band entitled, The Lt. Dan Band.
Sinise remarked of his work, “”I go into military communities and do fundraisers and that kind of thing with the band, because I know that the music can help do a lot of things. It can bring communities together, it can raise awareness…and it entertains.”
For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, Forrest Gump revolves around the life of the titular character who is a slow-witted and naive man from Alabama that is an athletic prodigy. Tom Hanks plays Gump and for his efforts was awarded the 1999 Best Actor Academy Award.
What do you think of Gary Sinise’s work with veterans?