Monday, February 25, 2019

Gary Sinise is the Real Deal

The greatest part you've (Gary Sinise) ever played is yourself.~David Von Drehle
I am on Rainy Day Books mailing list to find out about events exactly like the one that my husband and I attended last night.


The Truman Library Institute and Rainy Day Books sponsored the event which was entitled, An Evening With Gary Sinise.  Sinise was interviewed by Washington Post columnist, David Von Drehle about Sinise's new book, Grateful American.

I walked away with a greater sense of Gary Sinise's life and a much deeper respect for him as a person.

I, like many others basically knew that he became a well-known actor after playing a disabled Vietnam Vet in Forrest Gump.  I knew he played on CSI, and that he did a lot of volunteer work for the troops.  He has done so much more...

He didn't just accidentally stumble into the role on Forrest Gump, he had talked at length to Vietnam Vets in his own family, and thought it was an important role.  Afterwards, he wanted to do more to help, and that was especially intensified after 9/11.


He decided on the Day of Prayer after 9/11 that he wanted to serve those who were raising their hands to serve our country.  He has done that in incredible ways.  He worked for the USO and many other military charities.  He started a program called Operation Iraqi Children (now called Operation International Children).  The warehouse is here in Kansas City and years ago my kids and I volunteered and put together some of the backpacks of school supplies when I was still homeschooling.

He has won countless awards for all of his service and has started his own charity, The Gary Sinise Foundation.  A brief description of his service and awards:
Gary Sinise is an Oscar-nominated actor and winner of an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and two Screen Actors Guild awards, and has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, all while advocating for America’s veterans for nearly forty years.  
For his service work, Gary has been presented with numerous humanitarian awards:
--Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society,
--The George Catlett Marshall Medal from the Association of the US Army
--The Spirit of Hope Award by the Department of Defense
--He was named an honorary Chief Petty Officer by the United States Navy
--He was pinned as an honorary Marine, and received the Sylvanus Thayer Award at West Point, given to a civilian "whose character, service, and achievements reflect the ideals prized by the U.S. Military Academy." 
--He's also the recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second-highest civilian honor awarded by the President of the United States to citizens for "exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation.


At the end, there was time for audience questions.  A woman started crying while trying to convey her appreciation for what Sinise's foundation has done for her and her family.  Gary didn't hesitate to walk off stage and give her a hug.

The last thing that was said was the quote that I included at the top of this post.  Gary is an incredible actor, but as David said, the greatest part he's every played is himself.

I left inspired and encouraged to think of what I could do "to be of service to others".

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

President Donald Trump's 2019 SOTU

We must also ensure our economic resurgence continues at a rapid pace. No one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58 percent of the newly created jobs last year. 

All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before.
Don’t sit yet.  You’re going to like this. (Laughter.)

And exactly one century after Congress passed the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than at any time before.

As part of our commitment to improving opportunity for women everywhere, this Thursday we are launching the first-ever government-wide initiative focused on economic empowerment for women in developing countries.~President Trump, SOTU 2019
~I eagerly watched and did blog posts on all of President George W. Bush's SOTU addresses that he delivered after I started my blog. I did a couple on Obama's, only because one year the Kansas City Star wanted a quote from me about it.


~As I have made clear, I wasn't a Trump fan for the first 2 years of his presidency, so I missed his first 2 SOTU. I came on board last August at around the same time that Ben Shapiro did (great minds think alike). The Brett Kavanaugh hearings really got me fired up.
This is our future, our fate, and our choice to make. I am asking you to choose greatness.~SOTU 2019 
~For numerous reasons, I wanted to tune in this year. I didn't necessarily have high expectations, but wow, he really blew my socks off.  I was so impressed with the content of his speech. I would love to know who were the speechwriters that helped him write it.
We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants “Death to America” and threatens genocide against the Jewish people. We must never ignore the vile poison of anti-Semitism, or those who spread its venomous creed. With one voice, we must confront this hatred anywhere and everywhere it occurs.~SOTU 2019 
~I would encourage everyone to read the transcript of the actual address. I watched it live and took notes, but I missed a lot and I was impressed with the topics he chose to focus on, and the eloquence of his words.

~I thought his description/explanation of the legal and illegal immigration debate was the best I've ever heard. The left constantly tries to imply that Republicans are cold-hearted people against all immigrants. That couldn't be further from the truth. We want lots of people to come here, we just want them to come in legally.

~I also thought he was a genius to include certain parts that even the liberal women would have to stand up and cheer for.

~I have lots of favorite quotes that I would love to include in this post, but there isn't room. Below are the quotes that had me literally standing up, clapping and cheering:
Two weeks ago, the United States officially recognized the legitimate government of Venezuela — and it's new president, Juan Guaido. 

We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom, and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair.

Here in the United States, we are alarmed by the new calls to adopt socialism in our country.America was founded on liberty and independence, and not government coercion, domination, and control. 

We are born free and we will stay free. 

Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country. 
A second Holocaust survivor who is here tonight, Joshua Kaufman, was a prisoner at Dachau.  He remembers watching through a hole in the wall of a cattle car as American soldiers rolled in with tanks. “To me,” Joshua recalls, “the American soldiers were proof that God exists, and they came down from the sky.” They came down from Heaven. 

I began this evening by honoring three soldiers who fought on D-Day in the Second World War.  One of them was Herman Zeitchik. But there is more to Herman’s story.  A year after he stormed the beaches of Normandy, Herman was one of the American soldiers who helped liberate Dachau. He was one of the Americans who helped rescue Joshua from that hell on Earth.

Almost 75 years later, Herman and Joshua are both together in the gallery tonight, seated side-by-side, here in the home of American freedom. 
~I also loved the above part where he talked about the two holocaust survivors, Judah Samet and Joshua Kaufman (a prisoner at Dachau), and the D-Day soldier who helped liberate Dachau, Sergeant Herman Zeitchik. Amazing!!

~I'm going to end with the conclusion of Trump's address because it's so good:
When American soldiers set out beneath the dark skies over the English Channel in the early hours of D-Day, 1944, they were just young men of 18 and 19, hurtling on fragile landing craft toward the most momentous battle in the history of war. 

They did not know if they would survive the hour. They did not know if they would grow old. But they knew that America had to prevail. Their cause was this nation and generations yet unborn.Why did they do it? They did it for America. They did it for us. 

Everything that has come since — our triumph over communism, our giant leaps of science and discovery, our unrivaled progress towards equality and justice — all of it is possible thanks to the blood and tears and courage and vision of the Americans who came before.

Think of this Capitol. Think of this very Chamber, where lawmakers before you voted to end slavery, to build the railroads and the highways, and defeat fascism, to secure civil rights, and to face down evil empires.

Here tonight, we have legislators from across this magnificent republic. You have come from the rocky shores of Maine and the volcanic peaks of Hawaii; from the snowy woods of Wisconsin and the red deserts of Arizona; from the green farms of Kentucky and the golden beaches of California.

Together, we represent the most extraordinary nation in all of history.  What will we do with this moment? How will we be remembered?

I ask the men and women of this Congress: Look at the opportunities before us. Our most thrilling achievements are still ahead. Our most exciting journeys still await. Our biggest victories are still to come.

We have not yet begun to dream.  We must choose whether we are defined by our differences or whether we dare to transcend them.

We must choose whether we squander our great inheritance or whether we proudly declare that we are Americans.

We do the incredible. We defy the impossible. We conquer the unknown.

This is the time to reignite the American imagination.  This is the time to search for the tallest summit and set our sights on the brightest star. This is the time to rekindle the bonds of love and loyalty and memory that link us together as citizens, as neighbors, as patriots.

This is our future, our fate, and our choice to make. I am asking you to choose greatness
We must keep America first in our hearts. We must keep freedom alive in our souls. And we must always keep faith in America’s destiny that one nation, under God, must be the hope and the promise, and the light and the glory, among all the nations of the world. Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America.
Previously:
President George W. Bush's 2006 SOTU
President George W. Bush's 2007 SOTU
President Bush's 2008 SOTU
President Obama's 2010 SOTU
President Obama's 2015 SOTU