Lt Dan Band Rocks Fort Stewart
April 29, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - A director, an actor and narrator, Gary Sinise has captured the hearts and minds of people through films like Forrest Gump, Of Mice and Men and Truman. However, on April 23, he came to Fort Stewart for an entirely different reason. Sinise is the bassist for the Lt. Dan Band, a cover band that travels the world playing for the military and veterans.
"Gary Sinise has put together a world-class show that goes around the world and entertains Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and their Families," said Maj. Gen. Robert Abrams, "and they do it on their time and they do it on their dime."
Sinise, who played multiple shows in Iraq in 2008, is adamant about supporting troops.
"It's important that we stand by our defenders," said Sinise, "When they are struggling and when they are being deployed time and time again, they need help. They need to know that people appreciate what they do, and that's where I kind of come in. I can entertain, give them a pat on the back and raise money for organizations that help veterans and Soldiers, I can make a little bit of a difference and it's a good feeling to know that there's something I can do."
However, the band doesn't just play for military posts around the world; they also take time to visit wounded warriors in hospitals.
"I've met a lot of wounded warriors over the years," Sinise said, "The first time I went to Walter Reed (Army Medical Center) it began regular trips to the hospitals. I've been to the hospitals many times Walther Reed, Bethesda, Landstuhl and Augusta. I think it's very important for those that have been injured to know that what they are going through is not going unnoticed. A lot of times when I go to those places I'll see those who are wounded in various stages of recovery. I'll be there one month then three months later I'll be back and they'll be out of their chair, they'll have legs on, it's inspiring and humbling. [So playing for them] is something I can do to help."
Sinise also helped create Operation International Children, which is an organization that packages school supplies to send all over the world to troops who are out on civil affairs missions. He is also working on a memorial for disabled American veterans that is set to be built in Washington D.C. His passion for the military stems from multiple venues.
"It's probably my involvement with supporting the military," Sinise said. "It's a combination of several different things. There's military in my Family on my wife's side and on my own side, so I have Family around that I admire for serving, and I got involved with Vietnam Veteran groups in the early 80's."
To him, a wounded warrior is at his greatest risk after he leaves the hospital.
"Right now, in the hospitals, wounded warriors are getting attention. But when they go out to those small towns and communities we cannot let them fall through the cracks. We have to embrace them and make sure they get what they need, know that they are supported, and know that what they went through did not go unnoticed or is in vain."
Although he leads these groups and entertains troops on a global scale, Sinise says that he can always do more. "We have to do what we can, we can never do enough for our veterans but we can always try to do more."