I finally got an opportunity to download a personal photo. Are you shocked? I know I am! Someone else took the photo and e-mailed it to me, and after a few gyrations, I was able to get it inserted here. And since none of you have ever seen a photo of me, let me introduce myself. I'm the one with the white hair and white blouse. See, I told you I needed to go on a diet.
Last week, I was in Augusta, GA attending a dinner for the 319th Transportation Company Vietnam Veterans dinner (my husband's unit).
The keynote speaker that night was Gary Sinise. And what an amazing person he is. He posed, chatted and spent as much time with each person as possible for four hours and didn’t stop until the room of nearly 400 had emptied out. This was all done after spending the entire day touring the Active Duty unit and visiting the wounded warriors in the military hospital at Fort Gordon.
I don’t want to make this post boring, but I’d like to share a few things with you.
1. Gary Sinise was never in the military.
2. His deep-rooted support for troops was born partly out of guilt.
3. He escaped the draft because of his age and spent much of the conflict oblivious to the sacrifices men only a few years older than he were making.
4. His brother-in-law was a Vietnam veteran and Sinise learned much about the war through him. Sinise wanted to know why men served, what combat was like and how he could help veterans.
5. Sinise was deeply honored to play the role of Lt Dan in ‘Forrest Gump’
6. The Steppenwolf Theatre he co-founded in Chicago continues the tradition of bringing in local veterans for a free performance of the final dress rehearsal.
In perhaps his most important role, Gary Sinise helps veterans heal. Just as he did last week.
The men and women who protect and defend this country are pretty amazing people. And, as it turns out, so are some of the actors who portray them in movies. Rarely is there more heroism, more patriotism, more honor or more camaraderie squeezed into one room than there was Thursday night in Augusta at the 319th Transportation Company Vietnam Veterans dinner. I am deeply honored I could share that night with them.