It’s well known that actor Gary Sinise and his foundation, the Gary Sinise Foundation, do wonderful work for America’s troops. The foundation builds homes for disabled vets, Sinise’s Lt. Dan Band entertains the armed forces at concerts, and Sinise recently flew a group of WWII vets - along with 40 high school students - to the WWII Museum in New Orleans,
But what motivates Sinise? What was the moment that made him such a passionate advocate for those he calls “our active duty folks”?
In a recent interview, Sinise revealed that after September 11, 2001 he felt called by God to serve.
As Sinise told Raymond Arroyo of EWTN, his transformation It happened the Friday after the September 11, 2001 attacks on America by Islamic extremists. The relevant section begins at 6:36 of the video below.
It was actually three days after September 11. September 11 was on a Tuesday…George Bush the president called for a national day of prayer to happen on the Friday after September 11. Churches all over the country were packed. People were going to their churches just trying to find some healing, something to help deal with our broken hearts. I went to our local Catholic church…I remember it was standing room only, I was it standing room only, I was standing on the side, they were singing “God Bless America,” and everybody had tars, it very powerful, very moving.
Our priest was moving in his homily that day, talking about service, and how service above self was very healing and that we all needed to try to do something to help out country heal. I heard that very specifically that Friday after Sept, 11. That I think galvanized something in me and I just felt called by God to do something to help heal the men and women who we’re deploying in response to that event. Once we started deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan and we started losing people and they started getting hurt, I thought that’s where I can place my energy, that’s where I can serves. I’ve been involved with Vietnam veterans, I don’t want our active duty folks deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan coming home to a nation that treated them the way our Vietnam veterans were treated. I started doing everything I could. It all manifested itself into this foundation.