‘CSI: NY’ Actor Gary Sinise Explains What Independence Day Means to Him

by Matthew Wilson

The Fourth of July may be over. But “CSI: NY” actor Gary Sinise detailed what the national holiday means to him and why it’s important. For the actor, it has everything to do with military members and their sacrifice on a daily basis.

Like Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, Independence Day is a holiday to celebrate freedom and sacrifices made for liberty. In an interview with Fox News, Sinise discussed why the holiday is so important to him. The actor also reflected on his travels to the Korean border.

“Hardly controversial to me, [Independence Day is] about freedom,” Sinise told the outlet. “Having gone to places around the world, the war zones of Afghanistan, Iraq, places like that where they don’t really understand what freedom is. I’ve stood on the border between North and South Korea several times. And they’re free in the South and enslaved in the North.” 

Helping veterans is an important cause near and dear to Sinise. The actor started The Gary Sinise Foundation to help service members, specifically wounded veterans. Sinise said he wanted to do his part to give back to the people who protect his freedom.

“You value your freedom that much more and you value the people that provided it for you,” Sinise continued. “And that’s the men and the women of the United States military, that’s why I started my foundation. I want to support them in every way I can because freedom is precious. And it has to be fought for and has to be protected. Independence from tyranny has to be fought for and protected.”

Gary Sinise and His Foundation

Gary Sinise also wrote a book “Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service” chronicling his passion for members of the Armed Forces. For one, Sinise played a wounded veteran himself in the beloved classic “Forrest Gump” in the 1990s. Who can forget Lieutenant Dan and his sacrifice in the Vietnam War? The actor portrayed a very real pain many veterans went through.

“It starts with family members in my family, World War I, World War II, Korea-era, Vietnam, a lot of veterans in my family. I ended up playing a Vietnam veteran in Forrest Gump and at that time, I had done very little,” Sinise continued.  “I just hadn’t worked in the movie or television business for very long at all when I started going out and visiting troops around the world and going to hospitals, most of them didn’t know who I was but they knew Lieutenant Dan.”

Since then, Sinise has been an active member in the community. For one, he’s started his own band through his foundation. The Gary Sinise and Lieutenant Dan Band have also played hundreds of concerts over the years for service members.

For many Americans, Independence Day may be a time to break out the fireworks but Sinise likes to remember what the cost of freedom means and those that sacrifice.