- Obama downplays IRS scandal, blames Obamacare rollout on ‘outdated’ agencies
- Pregnancies decline overall, up among older women
- Pentagon plans to destroy Syrian chemical arms on ship at sea
- Paris Metro issues ‘politeness manual’ to improve passengers’ behavior
- Justin Bieber, crew detained at Australian airport in drug search
- Lee Rigby trial: Muslim who machete-hacked soldier calls it ‘humane’ kill
- GM ending Chevy sales in Europe to focus on Opel and Vauxhall
- Putin’s diplomats to U.S. busted for living high life off $1.5M bilked from Medicaid
- Happy Meal: Couple goes to McDonald’s, leaves with bag packed with cash
- Boehner: It took me 3 to 4 hours to sign up for Obamacare
SINISE’S LEADING ROLE
In 1868, Union ArmyMajor General John A. Logan declared May 30 “Decoration Day,” a day to honor fallen Civil War soldiers with speeches, prayers, and flowers and other decorations on their graves at Arlington National Cemetery. In 1971, Congress made the observance a national holiday to remember all those who have died serving our country, and since then, Memorial Day has been observed on the last Monday of May.
This Sunday, the annual National Memorial Day Concert will honor our military with patriotic performances on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Hosted by actors Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna, the free concert will feature appearances by Gen. Colin Powell and actor Ed Harris, and performances by the National Symphony Orchestra, the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, the U.S. Navy Sea Chanters and the U.S. Army Singing Sergeants, among others. This year, special tribute will be paid to veterans of the Korean War and World War II.
There are few ways to better honor the memory of the nation’s fallen heroes than by acknowledging the special sacrifices and answering the special needs of the nation’s military community — veterans, active duty troops and their families. Few have done more over the years to help the nation’s veterans and first responders than Mr. Sinise, who traces his long commitment to the military community back to his breakthrough acting role as the broken Vietnam veteran Lt. Dan in “Forrest Gump.”
“I got involved with our wounded veterans and just feel like I’ve been embraced by the military community,” Mr. Sinise told The Washington Times earlier this week. “I feel very comfortable there and met some extraordinary people. I feel honored to know some of these folks. They are truly exceptional people.”
Through the Gary Sinise Foundation, the actor — star of “CSI: New York,” the hit CBS procedural recently canceled after nine seasons — has taken his involvement to a new level. Whether it’s through his concerts with the Lt. Dan Band or by building “smart homes” for wounded warriors, his work reflects his conviction that the nation’s responsibility to its troops extends far beyond Memorial Day.
“This year is very full with military support activities and raising money and awareness” for the foundation, said Mr. Sinise, in D.C. to co-host, as he has for years, the nationally televised concert on PBS that honors the nation’s war dead. “I’m very ‘boots on the ground.’ I’m constantly out there doing something.”
Mr. Sinise is also here to support the GE Veterans Network’s “Get Skills to Work” program (getskillstowork.org), which has a goal of training and placing 100,000 veterans in manufacturing jobs over the next two years. “What GE’s program does is take some of the skills men and women learn in the military profession and retool them towards the manufacturing industry,” explained Mr. Sinise. “We have something like 600,000 manufacturing jobs available in the U.S. The veterans community is a great resource that can be tapped to fill that need.”
But America’s military community needs something else beyond job training, high-tech housing and medical care — something no money can buy: connection, affirmation, a nation’s gratitude.
“We have men and women in the military and the first-responder community that willingly go out there every day putting their lives on the line,” said Mr. Sinise. “We still have thousands deployed in Afghanistan. Their families are going through difficult times, worrying about them during their deployments. Some of them have been deployed multiple times — over and over and over. Unfortunately, we have a very small percentage of the population that serves the country in uniform, and if you don’t have a personal relationship or a family member or friend who serves, then sometimes you’re disconnected completely with the military.
“You never know if, when you’re walking up to someone in uniform in an airport, that person has just lost two or three friends in the last month. That person may be going through a difficult time. To have a stranger walk up and pat them on the back or buy them a cup of coffee, that means a lot. To tell them that you appreciate the fact that they’ve chosen to serve their country — that can really make a difference. That can improve their mental health. That’s what I’m in the business of doing — raising spirits, raising funds and letting our men and women know that we are a grateful nation.”
• Samantha Sault contributed to this story.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Why such hatred toward America's freedom of religion?
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality: liberal group
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- CARSON: Getting to the top by starting at the bottom
- Activists encourage Obama to circumvent Congress, use more executive authority
- Russian diplomats busted bilking $1.5 million from Medicaid
- Democratic infighting erupts over 'we can have it all' fantasy on entitlements
- Obama returns to class warfare as poll numbers plunge
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Obama lived with Uncle Onyango Obama in the 1980s, White House admits
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
Understanding economic events with a free market explanation
John Wood illustrates a new American politics, and the path to get there.
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
White House pets gone wild!