WASHINGTON (Oct. 15, 2014) -- As the celebrity voice of the Gold Star pins public service announcements, actor Gary Sinise is determined to help raise awareness about military Gold Star families.
The Gold Star lapel button and the lapel button for next-of-kin of deceased personnel officially represent a military loss. The pins are presented to surviving family members of U.S. Service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while on active-duty military service to our nation.
"There are symbols that represent loss. There are symbols that represent strength. And there are symbols that represent both," Sinise says in both the "The Pledge" and "The Pin" PSAs, both of which includes members of military Gold Star families. "Remember, respect and honor our fallen military heroes and the sacrifice and strength of our military families who wear the Gold Star pins."
Another Gold Star PSA, "Unsung Heroes," further illustrates the importance of the pins. All three videos can be viewed at www.GoldStarPins.org.
After speaking at AUSA Family Forum II at the Washington Convention Center on Oct. 14, Sinise discussed his involvement with the Gold Star campaign before visiting with several Gold Star families and Army senior leaders.
"I think we take for granted what our military goes through," Sinise said. "Only a very, very small portion of the population actually serves this country. It's like one percent, or less than one percent. If you don't have a family member or a personal relationship with somebody who is serving, generally I find that people are very, very unaware -- they're just going about their business."
Sinise played the roles of Lt. Dan Taylor in "Forrest Gump" and detective Mac Taylor for nine seasons of "CSI: New York." He won an Emmy for portraying George Wallace in the television film and a Golden Globe for his role as Harry S. Truman. He was the executive producer of "Brothers at War," a documentary about a family with three brothers serving in "Operation Iraqi Freedom," and he plays bass for the Lt. Dan Band.
"I'm involved in so many military efforts because of the veterans in my family, first of all, and then having been around the military for so long, I've met extraordinary people," Sinise said. "I've been involved with many, many Gold Star efforts -- just trying to do something to help these people."
Helping raise awareness of Gold Star campaigns fits perfectly into Sinise's busy agenda.
"I do whatever I can on many fronts, and that's an important one," he said. "It's not like World War II, where everybody had skin in the game, everybody was sacrificing, and everyone in the country was feeling the effects of the war. Today, a very small percentage of us are actually feeling those effects. And our Gold Star families are, first and foremost, at the top of that list."
"Just keeping awareness up about what's going on with these families. These families sacrificed so much for us. We can never do enough to give back to them. I think one of the things that they feel a great fear about is just being forgotten for what they've gone through. So if I can help to raise awareness about that and keep that awareness up, and give back to them, it's a privilege to do that."
Sinise is not bashful about using his celebrity status to help raise awareness about one of the smallest groups in America: the U.S. military.
"I want our military to know that I appreciate them," he said. "That's one of the things I want to do with my life. I've had great success in the movie and television business. I have veterans in my family, and I have great respect for them. I have met extraordinary people who serve our country, and I just want to do my part.
"That's what a celebrity can do: draw attention to certain things," he continued. "There's never enough when it comes to providing support to our Soldiers and veterans. We can always do a little bit more.
"They've given a lot," he said. "We need to give back to them."