America Supports You: Actor Sinise Discusses Support for Troops
By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2006 Gary Sinise, star of the hit television show "CSI: NY," appeared on the Fox News Channel program Hannity and Colmes yesterday to discuss his continued support for American troops and his charity Operation Iraqi Children.
Co-host Sean Hannity asked Sinise about his experience visiting wounded servicemembers recovering in the hospital.
"I'm not a guy who has an easy time in hospitals, so I was a little fearful of what I would see there," Sinise said. "When you do go you completely forget about your own self, because that's not why you go. You're there for them."
The actor portrayed Lt. Dan, a Vietnam War amputee in the movie "Forrest Gump."
Sinise said he first met wounded troops more than two years ago at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and has since visited Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Maryland and Walter Reed Army Medical Center here four times.
"I just talk to them about what happened to them and wish them well and let them know that we're grateful and we care about them, and that we're not going to forget about them," he said. "It means a lot."
Sinise said the experience of visiting wounded troops also puts his life in perspective and solidifies his gratitude to the men and women who protect this country.
"I feel very fortunate that we have volunteers who are wiling to join the military and go out there and serve," he said. "And again we need to remember that this is an all-volunteer armed service."
Sinise's charitable organization, Operation Iraqi Children, collects and ships school supplies and toys to Iraq. The items are then distributed to the children by American servicemembers. Sinise has previously stated that this project not only helps the Iraqi children with needed materials, it also boosts the morale of the troops who pass out the items.
When asked if he felt lonely being a conservative in Hollywood, Sinise declined to get into a political discussion. "It's funny I would be labeled that way," he said. "I don't know anything about that. I'm an American citizen, and I feel that I want to do something to give back."
Operation Iraqi Children is a way to "support the troops without being political at all," he said.
In addition to his interaction with wounded troops and his work with Operation Iraqi Children, Sinise has been active in "America Supports You," a Defense Department program that showcases what American citizens and corporations are doing for the nation's men and women in uniform.