Happy Birthday Gary Sinise: Celebrating the ‘Forrest Gump’ Actor on His 66th

by Atlanta Northcutt

Actor Gary Sinise isn’t just an actor, although he is a sensational film star. Sinise’s focus offscreen is even more sensational and leaves a lasting impact. Perhaps he found the passion to help servicemen after his own experience of playing Lieutenant Dan Taylor on the groundbreaking 1994 film Forrest Gump.

Lt. Dan Uses His “Forrest Gump” Role For The Better

His character captures the emotions of a soldier and veteran who became a double-leg amputee after becoming injured in Vietnam. He clearly struggles to find peace following his traumatic injury that left him crippled. He’s best-known as “Lieutenant Dan” since that is what the main character Forrest Gump has always called him. Gump is played by the great Tom Hanks.

Lieutenant Dan seems to live off an excessive amount of booze, routine visits from strippers, and a jaded, angry viewpoint of himself, life, and God. That is until he joins Forrest who is the captain of a shrimp boat. The Lieutenant made a promise that if Gump became a shrimp fisherman, he’d join. Taylor kept his promise and hopped aboard “The Penny” boat.

During a devastating storm, which actually turned into a hurricane, Lieutenant Dan climbs to the top of the mast where he hollers at and threatens God. He tells him to keep up the storm, is that all He’s got, and how he isn’t afraid anymore. After the storm, Lieutenant Dan Taylor took a peaceful swim in the water with joy and contentment on his face.

Forrest says, “He never actually said so, but I think he made his peace with God”

Gary Sinise Finds Peace While Helping Veterans

The award-winning actor is now a humanitarian who is dedicated to raising funds and supporting those who are serving or have served in the military. The focus of Sinise’s organization is to benefit active military members, soldiers who are currently deployed, veterans, and the families of past and present servicemen.

“Freedom and security are precious gifts that we, as Americans, should never take for granted,” says Sinise. “We must do all we can to extend our hand in times of need to those who willingly sacrifice each day to provide that freedom and security. While we can never do enough to show gratitude to our nation’s defenders, we can always do a little more.”

His experiences inspired Sinise to support and give back to the real heroes who risk their lives to protect America. He has not stopped supporting the servicemen and women and has continued to achieve more and more goals to improve veteran organizations.

The Numerous Honors That Sinise Has Received

Sinise supports various veterans’ organizations. He does so personally and through the Lt. Dan Band. He often holds performances on USO tours at military bases worldwide. The actor and humanitarian volunteers at the National Veterans Art Museum.

He is on the Advisory Council of Hope For The Warriors, which is a national nonprofit meant to help with nonmedical care for service members wounded in combat. This also includes their families, as well as the families who lost their loved ones in battle in each military branch.

Due to his vast efforts of improving the treatment of active military members and their families, Gary Sinise was given the title of an honorary U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer in 2012 due to his many efforts in helping military members. The following year he became an official honorary Marine.

As the years continue, Gary Sinise has received many awards from the government, military, and the public. He has been honored with some of the highest titles due to his work with soldiers and veterans. In 2020, he was even presented with the prestigious Humanitarian Award.

The Gary Sinise Foundation

The humanitarian has created his own organization in order to do more for the service members and veterans.

The website states “We serve our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need.”

The Gary Sinise Foundation provides opportunities for people to donate to the cause. It also has a link where veterans, soldiers, and those needing help can find the resources they need.

“My personal mission is what led to the founding of the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011, and with the help of supporters like you, we will continue to expand this mission in support of our nation’s defenders, veterans, first responders, and their loved ones, while upholding the importance of keeping our country strong by taking care of those who serve,” Gary writes on the website. “I believe we can never do enough to express our gratitude and give support to the men and women who willingly go into harm’s way to keep us safe and free, but we can always do a little more.”

Happy 66th Birthday to a man of many talents, great strength, and caring heart. May your legacy live on forever, Lieutenant Dan. Oops! I mean Gary Sinise. You are truly a good and loving humanitarian.