HomeAmerican EntertainmentGary Sinise Foundation Aids Oldest Living Pearl Harbor Vet in Visiting WWII Museum

Gary Sinise Foundation Aids Oldest Living Pearl Harbor Vet in Visiting WWII Museum

by Joe Rutland
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(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Capital Concerts)

Actor Gary Sinise does some yeoman’s work for veterans through the Gary Sinise Foundation and he’s done it again. For a recent project, the foundation helped America’s oldest-living Pearl Harbor survivor travel to the National WWII Museum. 

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The foundation teamed up with Amtrak to help 105-year-old U.S. Army PFC Joseph Eskenazi get to the museum in New Orleans. Pictures that were posted to the foundation’s blog show Eskenazi celebrating his birthday onboard the train and enjoying his trip to New Orleans. 

Gary Sinise Thanks ‘Thousands of Donors’ Who Help Make Trips Possible

Sinise spoke further about helping the WWII veteran travel to the museum during a news appearance. The actor thanked “all the thousands and thousands of donors that make these trips possible” before talking a little more about his partnership with the National WWII Museum. 

“I’ve had a long relationship with [the museum] going back to when Tom Hanks invited me to do the voice of Ernie Pyle in the movie that plays at the museum,” Gary Sinise said.

In 2014, he helped his uncle Jack, a WWII veteran, visit the museum. He passed away shortly after, and Sinise said he thought “every family should have a video of their WWII family member hero [visiting the museum].”

Sinise Has Developed Partnerships With National WWII Museum, American Airlines

This started up Sinise’s partnership with the National WWII Museum as well as a relationship with American Airlines, who helps veterans travel to New Orleans, Movieguide reports. 

Sinise also spoke about his years of work with veterans through the Gary Sinise Foundation. “They don’t ask for much. (And) they give a lot,” he said. “They provide our freedom for us and then defend our cities…and each time I did something [with veterans], I just wanted to go out and do more.”

Sinise famously played Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump, which starred Hanks. In an interview with CNN, Sinise was asked if he believed it was fate that led him to the very popular role. “Well, it was certainly good fortune,” Sinise said. “The movie did so well. Maybe it was some kind of destiny.

“I never realized it at the time that the role would play a greater part in my life than just being in a movie and having it be another part that I played in a movie,” Sinise said. But the role would definitely impact Sinise’s life. From it, he found what might be called a higher calling in his life. When he met wounded veterans, they would recognize him from the Forrest Gump role, not as Gary Sinise.