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".

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